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J. a. Cnahtng & Co.— Berwick & Smith Co. 

Korwood, Mam., U.S JL 


This work has a double purpose. It is intended to 
exhibit in outline the early development of English colo- 
nization on its political and administrative side. At the 
same time it is a study of the origin of English- American 
political institutions. Because of this double object atten- 
tion has been almost exclusively devoted to the continental 
colonies. Had the commercial and economic aspects of 
colonization been the subject of the work, the picture must 
needs have been painted on a larger canvas. . . 

The two volumes which are now published are concerned 
wholly with the American side of the subject. But they do 
not tell the whole of the story, even so far as it relates to 
the seventeenth century. Another volume will follow, the 
subject of which will be the beginnings of imperial adminis- 
tration and control. In that volume the British side of the 
problem will be discussed. The entire work, while serving 
as an introduction to American institutional history, will at 
the same time, it is hoped, illustrate the principles of British 
colonization, so far as those were revealed in the early rela- 
tions between the home government and its colonies on the 
North American continent. 

The author is fully aware that the attempt to analyze 
and compare the institutions of fifteen colonies, and to trace 
their political history, even in part, during a period of half 
a century or more, is a work of some complexitjC^ In his 
effort to do this he has limited himself, in nearly all in- 
stances, to the seventeenth century and to the material 
which was accessible for that period of time. This it was 
necessary to do in order to show what the governmental 
system was before the transition from the chartered colonies 
to the system of royal provinces occurred. 



As a result of pursuing this course the author, in the case 
of some colonies, has found himself hampered by the frag- 
mentariness of accessible material. But that is a condition 
which confronts every student of origins. Notwithstanding 
this defect, it is believed that sufficient evidence has been 
brought together to reveal the essential features of Ameri- 
can institutions as they were at the beginning. That evi- 
dence, as it has been classified in this work, will, it is hoped, 
furnish a background from which the later . colonial period 
and the Revolution will become more intelligible. If the 
critic seeks other explanations of defects, they will probably 
be found to result from the personal equation — for every 
book must have an author — and from the fact that this is 
a pioneer work in the domain of early American institu- 
tional history. 

The inquiries, of which this work is a result, were under- 
taken, years ago, at the suggestion of Professor John W. 
Burgess. Special thanks are also due to Professor Franklin 
H. Giddings, who has read the work in manuscript, and to 
Dr. W. Roy Smith, of Bryn Mawr College, who has assisted 
in reading the proofs. The index has been prepared by Dr. 
Newton D. Mereness, of Cornell University. 

Columbia UNiYSBfliTT, 



The puipoBe and character of the work xzy 

An institutional history of the British-American colonies in the 

seventeenth century xzy 

Suggestions as to classification of colonial government . . . zzvii 

Main suhdivisions of the work zxvii 




Chastbbs of Discovert. Experiments of Gilbert and Raleigh 

Share of private enterprise in originating the chartered colonies . . 3 

The cliarters of discovery 4 

Charters of the Cabots and other early explorers .... 4 
Revival of interest in colonization in age of Elizabeth due to con- 
flict with Spain 6 

Charter and voyages of Gilbert. Northwest passage, 1578, 1682 . 6 

Earliest sketch of large proprietary grants 9 

The Southampton adventurers with Gilbert 9 

Charter of Raleigh, 1584. Earliest suggestion of province of 

Viigmia 14 

Lane and Grenville on the outward voyage 16 

Governor Lane and the colonists at Roanoke 18 

Settlement, officials, Indian relations, food supply. First abandon- 
ment of Roanoke 18 

Second voyage of Grenville 20 

Renewal of efforts by Raleigh. Governor and assistants of city of 

Raleigh 20 

Governor White and second attempt to settle at Roanoke 21 

Activity of White's council 21 

White returns to England. Disappearance of the colonists and 

final abandonment of Roanoke, 1590 22 





THE Charter of 1606 


Discovery continued in form of private enterprises under James I 23 
Voyages of Gosnold, Weymouth, and others. Ferdinando Gorges 

becomes interested 24 

Suggestions also of initiative and control by the government 24 
An early written argument in favor of state-aided colonization 26 
Outline of charter of 1606. More precise definition of Virginia . 26 
Private or proprietary element Provisions relating to the paten- 
tees. Two joint companies 26 

Royal element. Provision relating to king^s council for Virginia 

and to local councils 27 

Mixed and therefore transitional character of the system . . 20 
The problem which confronted the patentees of 1606. Agricultural 

colonies 20 

Two colonies planted, at Sagadahoc and Jamestown. Their patrons . 32 

An ** instruction by way of advice ** 32 

The settlements at Sagadahoc and Jamestown were of the proprietary 

and plantation type 34 

Natural and social aspects of settlements at Sagadahoc and Jamestown 34 

Their location described and compared 36 

The forts and the buildings which they contained .... 36 

Time of landing and the consequences which followed ... 38 

How the labor force was first employed 30 

Beginning of trade with the Indians, especially at Jamestown. 

John Smith as an Indian trader 30 

The ** supplies.** Their economic and political functions .41 

Sickness and the death rate 43 

Government at Sagadahoc and Jamestown. An experiment in con- 

ciliar government 44 

Dissensions at Jamestown ; aggravated by sickness and by loose 
administrative methods. President Wingfield deposed. Grad- 
ual elimination of councillors till one autocratic president — 

Smith — is left 46 

This process checked, but not defeated, by visits of Newport . 40 

Attitude of Smith toward colonists and patentees .... 62 


VmoiNiA AS A Proprietary Province. Admikibtratioh of 

Sir Thomas Smith 

Defects in system of 1606 lead the London patentees to apply for new 

charter. Enterprise greatly enlarged 66 

Royal charters of 1600 and 1612 67 

Patentees fully incorporated. The general court of the company . 67 

Disappearance of the royal council for Virginia .... 67 



Triumph of the proprietary element ...... 68 

The treasurer and the quarter courts. Sir Thomas Smith, treasurer 00 

Transition in Virginia from system of 1606 to that of 1609 ... 01 

The third supply and its disaster 64 

Close of Smith's presidency in Virginia 66 

The "starving time" of 1600-1610. Indian war . .67 

Appointment of first governor of Virginia— Lord Delaware . 68 
Arrival of Gates and Delaware at Jamestown. Rescue of the 

colony 68 

System of rigid discipline instituted under Governor Dale ... 69 
Origin and provisions of the " Lawes Divine and Martial! ** . .69 

Dale's ideal of colonial life 69 

Peace with the Indians. Indian trade . . s .72 

Considerable influx of settlers. Gradual decline of death rate 73 

Expansion of settlement begins under Dale 73 

Founding of Henrico and neighboring settlements .... 74 

Private gardens to settlers 76 

Earliest suggestion of a system of head rights 76 

Teardley in 1617 slightly extends private grants .... 77 

Reaction under Argall 77 

Waste of resources of the company 77 

Progress of colony retarded 79 


VisoiKiA AS A Pbopbietart Provikce. Administbations of 
Sandys and the Earl of Southampton 

Change in administration of company. Sir Edwin Sandys elected 

treasurer in place of Sir Thomas Smith 80 

Attempt to settle Smith's accounts 81 

Earl of Warwick favors the change, but soon returns to alliance with 

Smith 81 

Sandys and Southampton pursue liberalized policy toward Virginia 81 
Great activity in despatching colonists, cattle, and supplies to 

Virginia 81 

Attempt to diversify industry in the colony 82 

System of reserves for company, college, and ministers ... 83 
Grant of private plantations. Their place in the beginnings of 

local government in Virginia 84 

Disappearance of joint trading system .89 

Plantations, corporations^ hundreds, boroughs, cities . . . 90 

^ Distinction between towns and province appears . . ~ '. " ' 91 

Grant of a House of'Burgesses to Virginia 92 

The Assembly otiei9 92 

Action of the company on the by-laws of the assembly ... 94 

The assemblies of 1621 and 1624. The instruction of 1621 96 
Steps taken to perfect the organization of provincial and local 

government in Virginia 96 


Thb Nbw England Council 


Fishing voyages of the Plymouth patentees till 1620 .... 98 

Origin of Charter of 1620 98 

Opposition by London company to its grant 99 

Opposition carried into parliament in 1621 100 

Gorges examined in reference to the monopolistic features of the 

grant 100 

Provisions of Charter of 1620. Oiganization of the New England 

council 102 

The council unsuccessful from the first 103 

To encourage its work Grorges publishes his Briefe Belation, 1622 . 108 

Gorges's plan of a proprietary province 103 

Early negotiations between the Leyden Congregation of Separatists 

and the London company 106 

The Wincob patent 106 

The Separatists negotiate with Thomas Weston for assistance 106 
Lack of agreement between Weston, the adventurer, and the 

Leyden Congregation 107 

The articles of agreement not signed 100 

The Mayflower sails without instructions, though loaded with sup- 
plies by the joint action of adventurers and colonists . . 100 
Founding of colony and town of Plymouth within the grant to the 

New England council 109 

The town located and laid out 109 

System of joint labor with separate homesteads . . . .110 

The town as seen by De Rasieres in 1627 110 

Sickness during the first winter Ill 

Journeys of discovery and opening of relations with the Indians . 112 
The ** supplies'* at Plymouth. The Fortune^ the Anne^ the LitUe 

Jame8 112 

Arrival of the " perticulers " in 1623 113 

Differences between the colonists and the adventurers . . . .114 

Weston's colony at Wessagussett 114 

The New England council grants a x>atent to John Pierce and 

associates in 1621 116 

Grant of a second patent to John Pierce as sole proprietor in 1622 . 116 
Pierce forced to assign his second patent to associates . . .116 
In 1627 the colonists buy out the claims of the adventurers to the 

land 117 

Land and cattle divided. System of individual property introduced 117 
The '* undertakers,'* however, manage the trade of the colony in 

joint stock till 1642 118 

The proprietary element in the organization of Plymouth disappears . 118 
Efforts of New England council to uphold its monopoly and found a 

colony ' . 119 



The royal proclamation of 1622 119 

Grant to Robert Gorges and his appointment as Lientenant-General 

of New England 119 

Efforts to procure subscriptions and awaken interest within the 

council 120 

Drawing of lots for shares, June, 1623 121 

Robert Gorges spends winter of 1623-1624 in New England . . 121 

Relations between Robert Gorges and Weston .... 122 
Return of Gorges to England and collapse of plan to found a great 

proYince 122 

New England council limits its efforts to the granting of territory along 

its northern coasts 122 

John Mason shares prominently with Gorges in these grants . 123 

Partial list of the grants 123 

Grants made according to two models, one for public and another 

for private plantations 126 

The Laconia company 127 

The indenture of 1628 to the Massachusetts patentees .... 128 

The Dorchester fishing adventure at Cape Ann .... 128 

Expansion of Dorchester adventurers into Massachusetts patentees 130 

Formation of the Massachusetts company and the royal charter of 1629 131 

Internal organization of the company 131 

Massachusetts founded as a proprietary province .... 132 

Instructions to its officials at Salem 138 

Policy of the colony at Salem as to land and government • • 136 




^ Ths Trahbfbr of Govsbkmbnt ikto Massachttbbtts. 

The Gbkeral Court 

Distinction between the early proprietary provinces and the corporate 

colonies 141 

The London company chosen as a model by the Massachusetts 

patentees 142 

But the form of the colony was radically changed by the removal 

of the Massachusetts company to New England 14^ 

The removal 144 

Occasion of the removal 144 

Steps preliminary to removal 145 

Final action of the general court 146 

Adjustment of business relations in England 147 



Effects of the removal on the land system and system of trade of 

the colony 149< 

Its effect on the character of the freemen. Winthrop^s ** Modell " 152 

The early development of the general court in Massachusetts .153 

Its chartered powers reaffirmed 154 

The freeman's oath 155 

Addition of the deputies 155 

Opposition to the exclusive claims of the magistrates continued 157 

General court divided into two houses,^ 1644 157 

Legislative equality of deputies with magistrates affirmed in 1636 . 158 

Form and procedure of the two houses 158 

Both houses elective 158 

The court of election 158 

Cases of disputed elections in towns - 150 

Employment of committees 159 

Initiation of measures through petitions 160 

"Position of governor in general court 161 

Controversies between the two houses 163 

These due to connection between civil and ecclesiastical power In 

colony 163 

Position of magistrates as quorum in general court . .164 

Question of the negative voice, 1634^1636 164 

Question of the negative voice, 1642-1644. Case of Sherman vs. 

Keayne 165 

Contention of magistrates and clergy prevails 166 



Massachusetts was governed by an executive board .... 167 

Its members were closely united 167 

They were steadily reelected for annual terms .... 167 
Because of nature of board's function and dearth of records, it is 

difficult to follow its history 168 

Position of the governor in relation to the assistants .... 160 
Early history and powers of the board of assistants . . .170 

General court of October, 1630, gives them the right to legislate 

and elect officers 171 

Court of May, 1631, withdraws powers to elect governor and 

deputy, but does not forbid them to legislate . . . .171 
At a meeting of the board in 1631 Winthrop explains the nature of 

the Massachusetts government 172 

Controversies between Winthrop and Dudley in 1632 . .173 

1634 the general court assumes full legislative power . . . 176 
In 1637, under influence of the clergy, the magistrates assume an 

attitude of greater dignity and severity toward offenders . 177 



Diacosion of life tenure for magistratee. Experiment with a oooncil 

for Ufe, 1086. Its faUore 178 

Controversy over executive discretion, 1635-1644 180 

Leads to farther exposition of the nature of Massachusetts govern- 
ment 181 

Views of the magistrates and clergy prevail 1S2 

Assumption of judicial powers by the government of Massachusetts 182 

Judicial functions of the general court 183 

Opinion of Winthrop and the elders in 1644 in relation to this . 184 

The assistants were the stated judicial court of the colony 184 

Variety of cases which early came before them .... 185 

No idea of separation of powers 185 

Quarterly sessions at Boston begin in 1636 186 

Procedure before this tribunal. Character of the administration 

of justice in general 186 

The local courts of Massachusetts 190 

The county courts and their jurisdiction 190 

The courts for the trial of small causes 191 

Controversy over the judicial discretion of the magistrates, 1636- 

1645 108 

Deputies attempt to limit it, but Winthrop and the elders main- 
tain that only maximum and minimimi penalties shall be 

prescribed by law 193 

Subject brought up again by the '* Hingham Case *' . . . 195 

Winthrop's trial 197 

View of magistrates and elders prevails. The ** little speech ^' . 199 




Relations bbtwbbn Church and Commonwealth in 


The importance of religious motive in determining the form and policy 

of government in Massachusetts 200 

Calvin's view of the nature of government and of the relations be- 
tween church and state 201 

This was substantially adopted by the Puritans 203 

Attitude of the Massachusetts leaders toward the Established Church 

when they left England 203 

The utterance of Rev. Francis Higginson 203 

The afbur of the Browns at Salem 204 

The founding of the church at Salem 204 

The ''Humble Request** 205 

Bat by force of circumstances, as well as by choice, the Puritans of 

New England became Separatists ^ . 206 

Their churches were based on covenant 206 

English orders were practically ignored 206 




Though professions of loyalty to the Mother Church were for a 

time continued, communion with her soon ceased . . 207 

Position of the clergy in Massachusetts 208 

They were the only learned and professional class .... 208 

They were the expounders and defenders of the church-state system 209 

Their view of the relation between church and state . 210 

The relations between church and commonwealth as fixed by law . 212 

- The religious test, 1031, 1604. Its effect 212 

The consent of the magistrates required in founding of churches . 213 

All inhabitants taxed for support of the clergy .... 213 
Conditions under which churches must be founded were prescribed 

bylaw 213 

Relations of the general court to councils and synods . . . 213 

Declarations of the Cambridge Platform of Discipline • . . 214 

Sabbath legislation 216 

Legislation concerning heresy 215 

Attendance at church made compulsory 216 

No one could preach in the colony who was disapproved by the 

magistrates or general court 216 

Preaching of the truth to be directly encouraged and enforced by 

government 217 

The clergy support the magistrates in the capacity of an extra-legal 

board of referees 217 

No room for religious dissent in Massachusetts 218 

The closest possible union of church and commonwealth . • . 218 

The conditions which led to this 221 


Thb Working or thb Mabsachusbtts Stbtbm as illustratbd 
bt thb controvbrsibs with roobr williams and thb 
. Antiiiomians 

The controversy with Roger Williams 224 

The high estimate placed by the Puritans on their charter 224 

The attack of Williams on their claim to land, which was derived 

through the charter 225 

Williams proclaims himself a Separatist and a believer in religious 

freedom 226 

First effort of the magistrates to prevent the Salem church from 

calling Williams as its teacher 226 

Williams on his return from Plymouth assumes a submissive attitude 226 
After he resumed preaching at Salem Williams begins again to 

attack land titles derived from the charter and to proclaim his 

Separatist views 227 

Admonition begins 227 

Williams protests against oaths 228 



He is sammoned before the magistratee, but at the same time is 

called to pastorate of Salem church 228 

This action of Salem church condemned by magistrates and clergy 220 
Character of the questions inyolved and the order of their im- 
portance 229 

General court rejects petition of Salem for land on Marblehead 

Neck 281 

Williams and his church appeal to churches of the colony against 

the members of the general court 231 

Williams's followers detached from him 232 

Town of Salem forced into submission 232 

Williams tried and banished 233 

The merits of the case 234 

Ibe Antinomian controversy 236 

The leaders of the two parties to that controversy .... 236 

Mrs. Hutchinson's conventicles 236 

The Antinomian doctrine 237 

Attitude of the body of the clergy toward this .... 237 

Attitude of the Boston church toward it. Rev. John Wilson . 238 
The proix)8al to call Rev. John Wheelwright to the pulpit of the 

Boston church 238 

Attitude of Governor Vane toward the controversy . . 238 
The ministers labor with him, with Mrs. Hutchinson, and with 

Cotton 230 

Wheelwright's Fast Day sermon 241 

Attack on the Antinomians begun 242 

Trial of Wheelwright. He was found guilty of sedition and 

contempt 242 

Court of election at Newtown, May, 1637. Defeat of the Antino- 
mians. Election of Winthrop as governor .... 244 

Vane returns to England 246 

The synod at Newtown, September, 1637. Cotton falls into line. 

Formal condemnation of Antinomian doctrines . • . 246 
General court made more intensely conservative by another elec- 
tion. Meets in November 247 

Exclusion of members from Boston because of its previous petitions 247 

Wheelwright sentenced to banishment 248 

Pimishment of Coggshall and Aspinwall 240 

Trial of Mrs. Hutchinson. She is sentenced to banishment . . 260 
Proceedings against other supporters of the Antinomian cause in 

Boston and elsewhere 253 

The Boston church, now purged of its heretics, excommunicates 

Mrs. Hutchinson 253 

Effect of the triumph of Puritan orthodoxy 254 


The Working of ths Massachusbtts Ststem ab illubtratbd 



The controversy with the Presbyterians 266 

The triumph of the Presbyterians in England in 1646 reacts upon 

Massachusetts 256 

Dr. Child and his associates x)etition general court for larger in- 
dulgence. This a protest of the unenfranchised against the 
divergence of Massachusetts law from that of England 257 

Reply of the general court. Defence of its policy .... 260 
The i)etitioners declare their intention to appeal to England . . 261 
This draws from the magistrates and clergy a denial of the right of 

appeal and of the binding force of English law within the colony 261 
The petition is sent to England in spite of strenuous efforts on part 

of the magistrates to prevent it 263 

No result, however, follows 264 

The controversy with the Baptists 264 

Puritan feeling toward Baptists colored by their horror of the 

excesses of Mtlnster 264 

The essential Puritanism of the Baptists 264 

The two points upon which they differed from the Puritans . 264 

Early proceedings against Baptists. Act of 1644 .... 265 
The case of John Clarke and Obadiah Holmes .... 266 
The Baptists secure a foothold in Massachusetts after the Restoration 269 

The struggle with the Quakers 260 

The religious characteristics of Quakers were intensely offensive to 

Puritans 260 

The Puritans charged the Quakers with wrongfully forcing their 

way into the colonies 272 

There was no law which required Massachusetts to receive the 

Quakers or forbade their exclusion 274 

Their advent seemed like the inroad of wild jmim^la or of a con- 
tagious disease 277 

rhe measures adopted to meet the successive arrivals of Quakers . . 277 

Mary Fisher and Anne Austin 277 

Quaker books to be seized ; Quakers to be imprisoned till they could 

be sent out of the colony, 1656 278 

Act of October, 1656. Whipping of Quakers begins. Imprison- 
ment and banishment conthiued 278 

Cases of Anne Burden, Mary Clarke, Christopher Holder, John 

Copeland, and others 270 

Sympathy shown for Quakers. Quakerism begins to spread in 

Massachusetts 280 

Harris, Leddra, Brend, and Norton . 280 

Quaker meetings forbidden. May, 1658 282 

Death threatened against those who returned after banishment, 

October, 1658 282 



Severity In the treatment of Qoakers constantly increases . . 288 

Execution of Robinson and Stevenson, 1669 283 

Execution of Mary Dyer and Leddra, 1660, 1661 .... 284 

Adoption of a milder policy 286 

lliis due in part to intervention of the king 286 

Increase of Quaker activity 286 

Continuance of repressive measures until attention wsa diverted 
from the Quakers by Philip's war and controvenqr with the 

• home government 287 

Bdations between the other New England colonies and the Quakers . 287 

Plymouth as ▲ Corpobatb Colont 

Seasons for the appearance and the disappearance of a proprietary 

element in this colony 290 

TIm oigans of government within Plymouth 290 

The general court originated in the Mayflower compact . 290 

Early duties of governor, assistant, and captain .... 291 

Informal character of government at the beginning . . . 292 

General assumption of powers 296 

Differentiation of the tovm from the colony 297 

Evolution of counties 298 

Ptymoath conforms in all respects to the model of the corporate 

colony 290 



Theoolony of the River Towns 301 

Reasons for the removal from Massachusetts dOl 

Government established under authority from Massachusetts . 303 

Town and colony government develop at the same time . 306 
Discretion of the magistrates limited from the first in the River 

Towns 306 

The Fundamental Orders of 1639 309 

The essential identity between them and earlier legislation in 

Massachusetts and Plymouth 309 

Development of the general court and of the executive . . .312 

Relations between church and civil power . • . . 314 

The River Towns a genuine corporate and Puritan colony . 316 

^ Warwick jMitent and colony at Saybrook 319 

Purchase of Saybrook by River Towns 320 

The founding of New Haven colony 321 

Beginnings of tovm and colony government 322 

The religious test 322 


The ** combination** of 1643. Development of colony government 


The Connecticut charter of 1662 82 

Its provisions relating to government 828^ 

Its provisions relating to boundary 829 

Controversy between Connecticut and New Haven . . . 829 

Final submission of New Haven 881 

The enlarged Connecticut 881 



Bhodb Island as a Corpobatb CoLomr 

Rhode Island was formed by the union of towns 882 

The relation of Roger Williams to its founding . . ^ . .882 

The founding of Providence 834 

Location of the town site 884 

The ** Providence purchase " and the *^ Pawtuxet purchase ** . 885 

The plantation covenant 886 

Issue of the '' initial deed** 887 - 

Agreement of October 8, 1638 338 

Efforts of Harris and associates to enlarge bounds of the town 

and develop a board of proprietors 838 

Plan of 1640 for arbitration 840 

Gorton at Providence 840 

The settlement of Portsmouth and Newport 341 

The original plantation covenant 841 

The settlement at Pocasset 842 

Removal to Newport, and its town compact .... 343 
Removal from Pocasset to Portsmouth and another plantation 

covenant • . . . . 344 

Union of Portsmouth and Newport into the colony of Rhode 

Island 346 

The settlement of Warwick 346 

Character and early history of Samuel Gorton .... 346 

Gorton at Plymouth and Newport 847 

Gorton and his associates purchase Shawomet .... 348 
William Arnold and associates of Pawtuxet put themselves under 

protection of Massachusetts 348 

Conflict between the Gortonists and Massachusetts . . . 360 
The Gortonists, after release from imprisonment in Massachu- 
setts^ppeal to England and induce Narragansetts to put them- 
selves under English protection 361 

Peril from outside comi)els the Narragansett settlements to unite . . 362 

Williams procures charter of 1644 864 

Massachusetts attempts to secure a patent for the entire country 

about Narragansett bay 354 

Terms of the charter of 1644 , . 354 



Institation of goyemment imder the charter of 1644 . • • . 365 

Court of election of May, 1647, at Portsmouth .... 356 

Charter accepted by this body 366 

Rhode Island takes the lead in organizing government . . 367 

The general court of commissioners 368 

Position of the towns in reference to the colony goyemment . . 368 

Colony oflElcials and court of trials 369 

Employment of committees by the general court .... 361 

William Coddington attempts to separate the island from the mainland 

towns 362 

They remain separate from Noyember, 1661, till May, 1654 . . 363 

The colony further disturbed by the Dutch war .... 364 

Failure of Coddington*s scheme 364 

Goyemment under the charter of 1644 reestablished . 364 

Boandaiy disputes relating to the Narragansett country . . 365 

The Shawomet grant 367 

The settlement of Richard Smith 367 

The Pettiquamscutt Purchase 367 

The encroachments of Massachusetts through the Atherton company 367 
The Westerly Purchase. Conflict between its settlers and those of 

Massachusetts at Southertown 368 

Pretensions of Massachusetts excluded by grant of Connecticut 

charter, 1662 369 

loae of the Royal Charter of 1664 to Rhode Island .... 369 
The Pawcatuck riyer designated as the western boundary of the 

colony 369 

Complete religious liberty guarantied by this charter . . . 370 


The Northward Expansion of Massachusetts 

1^ settlements on the Piscataqua 371 

Their condition after the collapse of the early plans of Gorges and 

Mason 371 

The Anglican settlement at Strawberry Bank 371 

The settlement at Hilton's Point. Patent of 1630 .... 372 

This patent located north of Little bay 372 

Bristol merchants become interested in it 373 

The Piscataqua grant to Laconia company 373 

Thomas Wiggin induces. Lord Say and Sele and other Puritan 

noblemen to buy Hilton's Point from the Bristol meitiiants . 373 

Hilton's Point becomes the Puritan settlement of Doyer . . 374 

Plantation coyenant of Doyer, 1640 374 

Conflicts at Doyer between Puritans and Anglicans . . 374 
Exeter, another Puritan town, founded by Bey. John Wheelwright 

and associates 375 

Settlement of Hampton 376 



Extension of the sway of Massachusetts over the Piscataqna towns . 376 

The northern boundary of Massachusetts 376 

Arguments in favor of annexing the Piscataqua towns . . 377 

The Squamscot patent and the submission of Dover, 1641 . . 378 

Exeter submits in 1643 380 

Jurisdiction of Massachusetts fully extended over the Piscataqna 

towns 380 

Subsequent protests of Mason^s agents 381 

The Maine settlements 382 

Government under Gorges maintained at Saco and York . . 383 

Trelawny's settlement on Richmond's island 383 

Cleeve and Tucker secure grants on the adjacent mainland . . 383 
Trelawny's agent, Winter, disputes the claim of Cleeve and Tucker 

to a part of their grant 384 

Case is heard before court of Governor Thomas Goiges at Saco . 386 
Cleeve induces the Puritan, Alexander Rigby, to buy the Lygonia 

patent. Its extent 386 

Cleeve appointed governor of Lygonia 386 

Controversy over jurisdiction between Cleeve and the representa- 
tives of Gorges at Saco 387 

Appeal to Massachusetts, 1646. No decision 387 

Rigby 's patent confirmed by Commissioners of Plantations . . 387 
Gorges' control now restricted to settlements between Kennebunk 

and Piscataqua 388 

Those towns submit to Massachusetts, 1653 380 

The settlements under Cleeve submit in 1658 389 

Massachusetts extends its county system over all the northern 
settlements and grants them representation in the general 

court 300 

^ Intercolonial Relations. The New England Confederacy 

Relations among New England colonies which demanded joint action . 392 

Murder of Hocking on the Kennebec river 302 

Controversy between settlers on the Connecticut .... 393 

Controversy over northern boundary of Plymouth .... 394 

Dispute over Springfield 3(W 

Relations with Dutch, French, and Indians 305 

Common feeling among New Englanders 397 

The formation of the confederacy 397 

Early suggestion from Massachusetts and Connecticut . . 397 

The drafting of the articles in 1643 399 

Provisions of the articles 390 

It was a union between unequals 402 

Questions of interpretation 403 

Right to interpret rested finally with general courts . . . 403 

Controversy of 1653. Decided by Massachusetts .... 404 



BelatioDB with the Dutch 406 

The commiBsioners correspond with Kief t : 

Ahout the Dutch at Good Hope 406 

Ahout the seizure of Westerhouse's ship 406 

About duties at Manhattan 406 

Peter Stuyvesant and the Treaty of Hartford, 1650 ... 406 

Relations with the French 400 

D'Aunay on the Penobscot and La Tour in Acadia . 410 
Friendly dealings between Massachusetts and La Tour . .411 
D^Aunay claims to represent the French government . .411 

filibustering expedition of Gibbons and Hawkins against D'Aunay 411 

Wumerton of Piscataqua attacks D'Aunay 412 

Strong protest in Massachusetts against aiding La Tour . 412 

D'Aunay proves rightfulness of his claims 414 

La Tour is abandoned and jtetLce concluded with D* Annay . . 414 

The affair before the commissioners 414 

Relations with the Indians 414 

Commissioners labor to keep the peace among the Indians and 

between the Indians and the English 414 

Fend between Mohegans and Narragansetts 416 

Treaty of 1645. Efforts to secure its execution .... 416 

"Hie commissioners and the controversy relating to Springfield . 416 

Attitude of Massachusetts in that controversy .... 417 

^^hon of the commissioners in the interest of schools, the churches, 

and missionary work 419 

They reconmiend contributions for Harvard College . . 420 

They aid the churches in maintaining the purity of the fidth . 420 

They urge strong measures against the Quakers .... 421 

They encourage miasionary work among the Indians . 422 
Their connection with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 

in New England 422 


npHB Lakd System in thk Corporate Colonies of New 


'^ system of group settlement 424 

How it originated in New England 425 

The groups were democratically organized 426 

The tovnis, which they settled, were manors with the monarchical 

element left out 426 

1'^torial administration in Massachusetts 427 

No land office or system of rents 428 

Superintendence of founding of towns by colony government 429 

Instances of this from the history of various Massachusetts towns . 429 
Boundaries, common fields, admission of freemen, town herds, to 

an extent regulated by legislation 433 



The land system of the other corporate colonies 434 

In all important particulars it was the same as that of Massa- 
chusetts 434 

In all colonies of this type the management of land was left chiefly 

to the towns 436 

Comparison of the territorial arrangement of New England towns 436 

The lay-out of towns. Varied topography of towns . 436 
Many of the oldest towns founded by spontaneous act of their 

settlers 438 

Laying out of village plot and assignment of home lots . . 438 

Allotments of arable land and meadow 439 

The lay-out of towns illustrated in the case of Salem and of many 

other typical New England towns 440 

Result of this was that the estate of each individual consisted of a 

number of small tracts scattered over the town plot . 449 

Tendency to consolidation of tracts 451 

Common fields and fences 451 

Their regulation illustrated from the records of Salem and of many 

other towns 451 

Common herds and herdsmen 454 

Similarly illustrated 455 

Rule of proportionality in the allotment of land 456 

Use of town rate for the purpose 457 

Equalization of allotments 458 

Boards of commoners or proprietors 461 

Origin of these boards 461 

Proprietors of special tracts 462 

Original identity of proprietors with town-meeting .... 462 

This fact illustrated in case of Plymouth and many other towns . 462 

But there were always residents who were not proprietors 464 

This body kept increasing, while the proprietors remained fixed . 465 
This led in many towns to struggles between non-commoners 

and commoners 466 

' t 


Thb FnrANOiAL Ststbm of thb Cobfobatb Colokibs 

Taxable prox)erty and taxes in the corporate colonies .... 468 

Payment of taxes in kind 469 

Direct taxes 470 

A development from assessments on stockholders .... 470 

The "rate" 470 

The rate was a general property tax 471 

Upon what it was levied 471 

With the rate was combined a poll tax and sometimes a form of 

income tax 472 



X^Ties on inoomes appear in MaBsachnaetts, Connecticat, and New 

Hayen 472 

Xjejy of the conntiy rate by quotas on towns 472 

In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven it became a penny 

in the pound 478 

In this form it became approximately a fixed sum .... 473 

Multiples and fractions of rates 474 

The poll tax changed accordin^y 474 

System of assessing and collecting rates 474 

County rates 476 

Indirect taxes 477 

Export duties of slight importance except in Pljrmouth . . . 477 

A tonnage or powder duty was levied in Massachusetts . . 477 

Import duties by far the most important 477 

Levied on liquors and general merchandise 478 

Excise on retailing of liquors 478 

Levies on mackerel fishery and on drift whales at Cape Cod . . 478 

Indirect taxes in Connecticut and Rhode Island .... 479 

Administration of the customs 480 

The collector in Massachusetts and his duties 480 

Customs officers in Connecticut 481 

S^nditures 481 

Chief object of expenditure was defence 481 

This involved payment for soldiers, officers, forts, and supplies . 481 

Heavy expenditures in connection with Philippe war . . . 482 

Pension system in Massachusetts and Plymouth .... 483 

Development of a system of salaries for officials .... 483 

Gratuities and special grants for public service .... 483 

Entries relating to gratuities and salaries in Pljrmouth . . 487 

Payment of colonial agents 488 

Support of ministry, churches, and schools 489 

Miscellaneous expenditures 490 

Appropriations and payments from the public chest .... 491 

Degree to which appropriation^acts were specific .... 491 

Development of the office of colony treasurer 491 

Accounting by the treasurers 498 

Legislative committees of audit 493 

Office of auditor general in Massachusetts, 1646-1067 . . . 494 

Aa for auditing accounts in Rhode Island, 1670 .... 494 


Thb Ststbm of Dbfenob in the Nbw Enolaitd Colonibs 

Genenl conditions affecting defence 496 

Provisions of the Massachusetts charter 496 

Assumption of similar powers by the other colonies . . 496 

The militant spirit of the Puritans 497 



Subordination of the military to the civil power .... 407 
Lack of genuine military training and experience among the 

colonists 498 

The militia system 499 

Based on the assize of arms 499 

Regulations for keeping of arms, armor, and ammunition . . 499 

The pike retained till Philip's war fiOl 

The matchlock and firelock muskets 501 

Trained bands or militia companies of the towns .... 602 

The clerk of the band 603 

Troopers and their equipment 604 

Trainings, their frequency 605 

Classes which were liable to trainings and exempt from trainings . 606 

Begimental trainings for horse and foot 607 

Regulations for trainings in each of the respective colonies . . 607 

Constables* watches in the towns 609 

Regulations for giving alarms 609 

Regimenting of the militia in Massachusetts 510 

The council of war 611 

The sergeant-major and shire lieutenant 612 

The sergeant-major general 512 

The surveyor-general of arms 613 

No permanently organized commissariat 514 

During the seventeenth century in no corporate colony except 

Massachusetts was the militia regimented . . .516 

Forts, stockades, and garrison houses 516 

The distribution of forts among the towns 516 

The ''barricado** in Boston 517 

Early history of the defences on Castle island .... 618 

Garrison houses 620 

Their increase and distribution during Philip's war . . . 620 

Stockades va, garrison houses 521 

Military administration 621 

Regulated by acts of the general court 521 

Controlled by the governor, assistants, and special councils and 

commissions 621 

Special councils of war 522 

In Massachusetts 622 

In Plymouth 523 

In Connecticut 524 

Method of filling military offices 524 

Permanence of tenure 626 



Indian Relations, Philip's War 

Iiidian relations in general 627 

Indian policy had to be worked out immediately and on the spot . 627 

Origin and location of Indian tribes 627 

Method of extinguishing Indian titles to land 629 

Regulations of trade with the Indians 630 

Trade in arms, ammunition, and liquors 690 

Watchfulness in relation to feuds and danger of Indian attacks 632 

Development of a protectorate over the Indians 633 

A result in part of the Pequot war and of the alliance of Uncas 

with the English 633 

Formation of a Pequot reservation in Connecticut .... 636 

The Golden Hill reservation 636 

In Massachusetts a similar development was caused by the mis- 
sionary work of Eliot 636 

Reservations of praying Indians in Massachusetts .... 637 

Similar reservations in Plymouth 639 

Missionary efforts in Connecticut 639 

Conditions which occasioned Philip's war 640 

Effect of the advance of English settlements 640 

Early dealings between Philip and Plymouth 640 

Massachusetts and the other colonies interpose .... 641 

Philip fights to avoid a protectorate 642 

This is a war between whites and unassisted natives . . 642 

"Hie New England frontier 643 

^nmerical strength of the Indians 643 

Conditions under which joint action of the colonies wajs possible . 644 

Character of military operations 646 

fust phase of the war 646 

Local conflict near Mount Hope 646 

Armed negotiation with the Narragansetts 648 

^nd phase of the war 649 

Flight of Philip from Pocasset 649 

Uprising of the Nipmucks of central Massachusetts . . 660 

Encounter near Brookfield ! 660 

Extension of the war to the Connecticut valley .... 661 

Connecticut dravm into the conflict 661 

Relations between authorities at Hartford and the Massachusetts 

valley towns 661 

Encounters at Northfield and Deerfield 664 

Policy of expeditions vs, garrisons 664 

Attack on Springfield. Retirement of Pynchon from command . 656 

Appleton succeeds. His policy of defence 666 

Relations between Appleton and the Connecticut authorities . 658 

Operations in eastern Massachusetts 660 



Third phase of the war : oprighig of Nanaganaetts • • . . 660 

The joint expedition of December, 1676 660 

The*' swamp fight'* 662 

Active alliance between Narragansetts and mpmadcs • . 664 

The *' hungry march" of January, 1676 666 

Desolating attacks on many towns of central BCassachusetts . . 666 

Continued operations in the Connecticut valley, Turner's FaUs . 666 

Capture and death of Cauonchet 667 

Measures of defence in Plymouth colony 668 

Operations in central Massachusetts 669 

Raids through the Narragansett country 670 

Collapse of Indian resources. Death of Philip .... 671 

Fourth phase of the war 672 

Early attacks on the northeastern settlements .... 672 

Narragansetts and Nipmucks join northern Indians, summer of 1676 678 

Stratagem of Major Waldron 678 

Prolongation of hostilities till Treaty of Casco, 1678. Peace . . 674 

The war greatly strengthened English control over the Indians . 674 

Plymouth law of 1682 674 

Treatment of the prajring Indians by Massachusetts during the war 676 

The prajring Indians after the war 676 

Connecticut extends -poUcy of reservations after the war • . 676 



It is the purpose of the author of the work, of which these INTRO- 
Yolmnes form a part, to trace the growth of the British- i^xON 
American colonies as inafitntim^n ^f grovflninnAnt and as 
parts of a great colonial ayfltje m. The beginnings of that 
system, in one of its phases, will be passed in review. 

In order properly to accomplish this task a discriminat- 
ing use must be made of much known material. The politi- 
cal and social sciences have now reached sucb development 
that it is impossible to present in a single view all known 
aspects of any period of history. A choice must be made 
between those which are distinctly political and those that 
are social, and upon the one or the other the emphasis must 
he laid. This should be done not in a narrow or exclusive 
spirit, but with a due regard to the fact that political events 
and forms of government are very largely the product of 
social causes^ while institutions in their turn are the avenues 
through which social forces act. In this work attention 
^1 be specially directed to forms of government and to 
tne forces and events from which their development has 
sprung. Material of a social or economic nature will be 
utilized not directly for its own sake, but for a light which 
it may throw on political growth. In other words, an 
attempt will be made to interpret early American history 
^ the terms of public law. The treatment of material will 
°® subordinated to that end. 

In this fact will be found a leading justification for the 
existence of the book itself. G enera l histories of the period 
^6 have, and additions to their number are not infrequently 
'Oade. Constitutional histories of the United States have 
been written, but no one has hitherto undertaken to pro- 
duce an institutional history of the American colonies. 



INTRO- To all serious students, however, it must be clear that with- 
TION ^^* research in that direction the period can never be 

^^ — y — ^ properly understood. A correct view of forms of colonial 
government, of the relations between the church and the 
civil power in the colonies, of the legal relatTons between 
tCe~ colonies and the mother country, and of other, biA 
similar, questions, is absolutely fundamental. The time 
has come when we must know in some connected way how 
N/ the Atlantic, so to speak, was institutionally bridged ; in 
other words, we must know under what forms English in- 
^^ stitutions were reproduced on the American continent, and 
Eow, if at all, they were modified by the influence of kin- 
dred European peoples who settled near or among the 
English colonists. Their slow unfolding and change must 
be traced and an effort must be made to ascertain how far 
this was due to internal causes, and to what degree it was 
produced by pressure from the home government. The 
origin of American institutions is not to be found wholly 
in those documents and principles which originated in the 
second half of the eighteenth century, but as well in certain 
earlier forms which had undergone steady development for 
a century and a half before the date of independence. These 
forms in their growth illustrate and reveal at the same time 
one of the most important phases of British colonization. 

This fact suggests a further distinction which must be 
observed in the treatment of the subject. Colonization, at 
least in modem times, means the reproducti6n* of depend- 
encies. In the study of the process of colonization atten- 
tion must be fixed not only upon the colony or dependency 
itself, but on the relittions which it bears to the parent 
community or state whence it sprang. The nature oF'cdlo-' 
nies themselves, . and of the historical process which gives 
rise to them, suggests the two main divisions of the subject. 
The earlier writers on the period, with one or two excep- 
tions, have concerned themselves almost wholly with the 
^ colonies, and have failed to give a clear or continuous ac- 
count of their relations with the home government. No 
systematic attempt has been made to ascertain what the 
constitutional law and practice of the old British colonial 



e mpire was, or to set it forth in its historical deyelopment. INTRO- 
In no^book can a satisfactory description be found of the ^icm 
organs of the British government which were employed in v — ^ — / 
colonial administration, or of the functions which they per- 
formed. The principles of British policy have never been 
adequately discussed. In a word, the history of British ^ 
colonial administration, so far as it affected the American '^^^r' 
colonies, has yet to be written ; one might almost say that S*^ ^ '"* 
the materials for it have yel~ io be collected. But it is evi- 
dent that the neglect of this side of our development during 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is a defect almost 
as serious as would be the omission of federal relations in 
United States history. One side of the story is left untold 
or is referred to as something foreign and inimical to the 
colonies. In fact, it is the very essence of the colonial rela- 
tion, and without it the meaning of the period is to a large 
extent lost. An attempt will be made in this work to bring 
out into something like their proper relief both the colonies 
with their institutions and policies, and the system of impe- 
rial control which was exercised over them. 

The main outline of the subject, the key to the history of 
the period as a whole, is furnished by the thought just ex- 
pressed —the^^olpniea. .fts^tkoyi-^^ and in 
their relation to the sovereign power- from which their exist- 
ence sprang. The student of colonial institutions is con- 
cerned with only those two subjects ; they are all-incjusive. 
Under the one or the other will fall every other minor topic 
which he will find it necessary to discuss. He will classify 
the colonies not according to their location or to their social 
characteristics, but according to the forms of government 
which existed within them. This he will find to be deter- 
mined by the form of their executives and by the constitu- 
tional relations which existed between the executives and 
^te legislatures, as the legislature developed in each colony. 
Th6 main divisions of his subject will be suggested by the ^ 
relations in which the colonies stood to the home govern- 
njent. The tendencies of historical development during the 
period he will find in the changes which came about in 
those relations and also in the internal organization of the 


INTRO- colonics themselves. From this point of view the unfolding 
jl^ relations between sovereignty and li berty will be doly 
> — y — ' f illustrated. ' 

^ Institutionally considered, the history of the American 
colonies falls into two phases or periods. The two phases 
>^ appear in the system of chartered colonies and Cte system 
r^ of royal provinces, with thelErahsition from one to the other. 
This comprises all there is in the constitutional history of 
that period. The meaning of the period, its unity and di- 
versity, the character of the colonies as special jurisdictions, 
as well as their relations with the sovereign imperial power, 
will become sufficiently clear if these subjects are properly 
treated. The fundamental trend of events during the period 
will also become evident, 
v^ By the chartered colonies is meant the corporate colonies 
^ of New England an3 tiKB^ropneSry^ro^BC^." Ihe term 
^ chartered ^' signifies nothing as to tiie internal organization 
of the dependencies to which it is applied, but relates only 
to the method of their origin. They all originated in 
grants from the English crown, the privileges being con- 
veyed through royal charters. Permissions to undertake 
voyages of discovery were issued in this form. All the 
colonies were founded under grants of this nature, and their 
development embodied the results contributed by private 
and local enterprise to the general movement. Their found- 
ers and settlers bore the risks, hardships, and losses which 
were incident to the beginnings of colonization. Their 
efforts, under authority from the English government, gave 
rise to a group of colonies which possessed variety of internal 
organization and enjoyed a large degree of independence. 
They were emphatically special jurisdictions, and their 
founders and inhabitants exhibited all the love for corporate 
liberty which characterizes the history of such jurisdictions. 
' The corporate colonies of New England were practically 
commonwealths and developed with scarcely any recognition 
of the sovereignty of England. Their ecclesiastical polity 
differed from that of England. Their land system and the 
relations between their executives and legislatures \rere 
(^ peculiar to themselves. They founded a confederation with- 


nrrRODUCTioN xxix 

out the consent of the home govemment, taking advantage INTRO- 
of the civil troubles in England for the purpose. TlON 

Of the proprietary provinces, the earliest were founded v— y — ^ 
by trading companies resident in England, and at the out- ^ 
set joint management of land and trade were prominent ^ 
characteristics of their policy. This, however, soon passed — 
away and left a body of free tenants. The later proprietary 
provinces were founded by individuals or boards of proprie- 
tors, through whom political rights passed to the inhabit- 
ants. In some of these provinces the proprietors and their 
appointees retained at the beginning large powers in their 
own hands, and only gradually did these come to be shared 
by the people through their representatives in the lower 
house of the legislature. In others the proprietors at the 
beginning admitted the representatives of the colonists to a 
large, or even the largest, share of power. Thus varieties ^ 
of a common type appear prominently in this class of prov- 
inces; institutions shade off into one another. -^ 

Before the close of the seventeenth century, however, all 
the colonies of this type had suffered temporary eclipse, and 
•nearly all of them had disappeared. Rpjal provinces had ^• 
t&ken their place. This was the most important and signifi- Z^ 
cant transition in American history previous to the colonial 
revolt. It was effected in part by causes operative in the v 
colonies themselves and in part by pressure from the home 
government. Ijit^rnal changes were chiefly active in the ^ 
Proprietary provinces, and least so in the corporate colonies. 
The latter attamed^atlhe outset an organization which suited 
their needs and temper. Under it for nearly half a century 
they enjoyed de fcLcto self-government, and they were under 
DO temptation to change it for anything diffe jgnt. In the 
proprietary provinces the conditions werp^H^^K^mians stable. 
The inefficient administration of n^^ of the proprietors, 
the narrow pseudo-dynastic policj^f others, the^ coSBhipn 
which sometimes resulted from doubt as to the goveriimental 
or territorial rights of proprietors, not infrequently led the *■" 
c olonists to prefer government by the crown. Against not 
a few phases of proprietary government, when at its best, the 
people were always protesting, with the result that gradually 



INTRO- the powers of the proprietor were limited, and that thereby 
T^N ^^^ institutions and political life of tlie^rovince were broad- 
ened and strengthened. 

But the most important cause of the disappearance of 
X. the chartered colonies, whether they were corporations or 
provinces, was p ressure fro m the home^ gO Yemment. The 
treatment of this subject leads necessarily to the discussion 
of the powers and functions of the British government so 
far as they were exercised in colonial administration, the 
policy which the imperial government adopted toward its 
dependencies, and the relation which it bore to the chartered 
colonies in particular. \ From the point of view of adminis- 
trative organization the fact of chief importance connected 
with the system of chartered colonies is this, that under that 
system no provision was made for an imperial executive resi- 
-^ dent in the colonies. For this reason, when the home gov- 
ernment adopted a comprehensive policy for the colonies, it 
found itself hampered in the execution of it by the lack of 
officials of its own who were resident in America, the place 
where, as things then were, much of the most important 
administrative work must be done. In many ways the 
chartered colonies obstructed, by a course of passive resist- 
ance, the enforcement of the policy which the home govern- 
ment thought it wise to support. When viewed from the 
>^ V imperialist standpoint, looseness and inefficiency seemed to 
characterize much that was'don^ by the chartered colonies. 
Their tendencies toward an independent course, it was 
thought, should be checked. Greater regard for gfeneral 
interests, it was held, should be secured in the spheres of 
commercial relations, imperial defence, and the administra- 
tion of justice, while in New England the pride and exclu- 
siveness of the Puritans should be curbed to such an extent 
that a foothold might be obtained for representatives of the 
English Church. 

Of thelact that, toward the close of the seventeenth 
century, this was the view of substantially all Englishmen 
who were largely concerned in colonial administration, there 
can be no doubt. Whether it was a statesmanlike view of 
the case, this is not the place to inquire. It is sufficient for 



present purposes to know that, under the circumstances, it intrO- 
was a natural conclusion of the administrative mind. Its ^icm 
adoption, moreover, was the signal for an attack on the 
chartered colonies individually and as a system, ^uch an 
attack had begun as early as 1624, when Virginia became a 
r oyal province, and would have continued, had it not been \^ 
fortte temporary overthrow of the Stuarts. Toward the 
dose of the reign of Charles II it was resumed and was 
persisted in for a generation. In combination with other 
causes which were operative exclusively within the colonies 
themselves or among their proprietors, it temporarily sub- 
stituted royal provinces for all, and permanently for all 
exc ept four, of the chartered colonies. The four that re- 
mained — Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and 
Maryland, together with Georgia, which was settled in 1732 
and continued for twenty years as a proprietary province — 
it subjected in part to the system of administrative routine 
which developed in England during the early years of 
the eighteenth century. Thus the transition from the sys- 
tiem of chartered colonies to that of royal provinces was 

From the beginning of the eighteenth century until the 
war for independence the r oyal p rovince was altogether the 
prevailing form of coloniaT government. It diiBfered from 
^e proprietary province in the fact that the king was its v 
p roprieto r, while a ro yal executive and judicial system 
existed within it. Its existence was closely bound up with 
the system of colonial administration in general. The rela- 
tion between the crown and its legislature and oflBcials was 
unmediate. It was not a special jurisdiction in the extreme 
sense which attached to that term when it was applied to 
the chartered colonies. In short, the advent of the royal 
provinces as a system was an important step toward imperial 
unity, and at the same time toward uniformity in the inter- 
nal organization of the colonies themselves. For these rea- 
sons the royal provinces cannot be discussed apart from the 
system of imperial control, as is the case with the chartered 
colonies ; but the two are parts or aspects of the same whole. 
As the nature of the royal province has not until recently 


INTRO- been understood, and as, until lately, no systematic attention 
TK)N ^^ heen paid to the period of our history when it was the 
leading form of colonial government, the treatment of that 
subject must be almost entirely original. But it is in some 
respects the more important ph ase of our colonial develop- 
ment, and a knowledge of the precedents which were 
slowly established within the royal provinces is indispen- 
sable to an understanding of the Revolution. The con- 
stitutional questions which were at issue during that crisis 
originated largely within the royal provinces and concerned 
/ their structure and workings. " Aiiiid the action and reaction 
' of provincial assemblies and executives, the executives being 
guided by the acts of parliament and the royal commissions 
and instructions to which they were subject, and all feeling 
more or less keenly the pressure of the long commercial 
and military struggle with France, the colonies and mother 
country slowly approached the point when claims and poli- 
cies, which from the outset had been divergent, clashed, and 
it was found impossible to harmonize them. 

American colonial history, especially when studied from 
the institutional standpoint, is not limited or narrow in its 
bearings. ItS^Qutlppk is broad, and the issues with which 
it is connected affect deeply the history of the world at 
large. Viewed in one connection, it is the record of the be- 
ginnings of English- American institutions. Looked at from 
another point of view, it fills an important place in the 
history of British colonization. It leads outward in two 
directions, toward the history of the greatest of federal 

'>)p — republics, and toward the later and freer development of 
the greatest of commercial empires. If the colonial and the 
imperial forces which were operating can be fully traced and 
clearly revealed, the significance of the period in its two- 
fold connection will be made apparent. 







Colonization, like many other social activities, has owed CHAP. 
its origin and development to the cooperation of private 
enterprise with governmental patronage and control. The 
forms which colonial systems assume depend largely on the 
way in which these two elements are combined. Among all 
nations private initiative has been especially prominent in 
the early stages of colonization. As a rule discoverers have 
been self-develbped, and have turned to government to secure 
recognition and support for the adventures which they have 
undertaken or were ready to undertake. The discoverer is 
always potentially the colonizer, and the relations of the two 
toward the civil power are likely to be much the same. The 
impulse toward migration has usually originated with indi- 
viduals, groups, or classes that for some reason or other have 
sought a change of environment, going in many cases even so 
far as to cEooSe removal into distant and almost unknown 
climes. Especially is this true of such movements in their 
eariiest stages, and particularly as they appear among the 
English. Monarchs and finance ministers have as a rule 
been slow to commit the government to the active support of 
enterprises so uncertain as the founding of colonies in dis- 
tant and newly discovered continents. They have been 
ready to legalize such schemes, to grant charters and incor- 
porate, to convey large tracts of land, rights of trade and 
powers of government, also to appoint officials and issue 
instructions ; but from directly undertaking the work of 
planting colonies, with the financial risks it involved, they 
have usually held aloof. This they have preferred to see 

individuals and corporations undertake. 





To these causes the system of corporate and proprietary 
colonies in British North America owes its origin. The 
individuals and corporations that actually founded these colo- 
nies and b ore the risks and losse s involved therein were the 
proprietors and planters. Without their initiative the colo- 
nies never could haveTbeen settled ; and conversely, the first 
form of colony which necessarily came into existence was the 
proprietorship. Viewing the subject technically and from 
the standpoint of the colonizing power, the proprietors and 
planters were its agents, acting under Authority derived from 
it, for the purpose of establishing a colonial system. 

In applying to the government, as they did, for legal au- 
thority and recognition, the early discoverers and colonizers 
committed themselves to the adoption for their dependencies 
N< of such forms of local organization as were characteristic of 
the parent state, or such as the crown lawyers and officers 
might accept or choose. Upon these forms the relation of 
both colonies and their founders with the parent state came 
largely to depend. When under the Tudors the earliest 
charters of discovery were granted, th^^ fief^jras chosen as 
the model of the grants. For a time after the accession of 
the Stuarts the trading corporation was selected for the same 
purpose. "^The fief, however, was by no means abandoned, 
but was utilized under the form of the county palatine in tjie 
grants to Lord Baltimore, Sir Ferdmando Uofges, and other 
proprietors who received their patents subsequent to the 
Restoration. Thus the fief suggested the form under 
which most of the proprietary grants were made, though 
tradiog corporations which continued resident in England 
also founded a type of proprietary colony which is of great 
V interest and impSilance. 

The charter which was issued in 1497 to John Cabot and 
his three sons provided that they should subdue and possess 
the territories they discovered as the " vassals and lieuten- 
ants " of the king.^ The " rule, title, and jurisdiction " over 
these lands were to remain in the king, while the grantees 
should enjoy the monopoly of trade with their provinces, 
subject to the payment of one-fifth oi their total gains to the 

1 Hakluyt, Collection of Voyages, III. 26. 



crown. When it is also noted that Cabot, his heirs, and CHAP, 
assigns, were required to make Bristol th e terminus of their ^ *^ 
voyages, it will be seen that thi^cliSrier contained in germ 
several of the most important features of the later colonial 
system. The second patent, granted to Cabot the following 
year,^ simply gave him the right to visit the lands which in 
the name of the king he had recently discovered, taking with 
him as many as six English ships. 

By the charter* of 1601, issued to Richard Warde, Thomas 
Ashehurst, and jothers^^e grantees were empowered to oc- 
cupy the territories they should discover as vassals of the 
crown, holding their lands by fealty without payment, and 
enjoying rights of government and exclusive rights of trade. 
In this document, as well as in that issued the next year ' to 
several of the same patentees, the main features of the origi- 
nal grant to Cabot reappear, elaborated and stated in greater 

After an interval of ei ghty years, and with the impulse 
toward maritime development wliich accompanied the strug- 
gle with the Catholic powers of the Continent, the work of 
discovery was resumed, and it now led, after a short delay, 
to experiments in colonization. The movement at this time 
centred among the Elizabethan soldiers and seamen, leaders 
who were founding plantations in Ireland and who were 
invading Spanish and Portuguese dominions in every quarter 
of the globe. Walsingham and L eicest er were the official 
leaders of the war party, and T>xdik^ proved himself to be the 
genius of the movement as it was when viewed in its purely 
maritime aspects. Humphrey Gilbert and Walter Ralejgh 
were interested in many Irish entSrprises, and when they 
came to undertake discovery and settlement across the sea, 
may very well have followed precedents which they had 
learned *in Ireland. In the eyes oT Wese men the Spanish 
power was not only the arch enemy of Protestantism, and so 
of the queen, but it was the sentinel which, under authority 
derived partly from occupation but more from the papal bull, 
stood guard over the vast stretches of the newly discovered 

1 Biddle, Life of Sebastian Cabot, 75. * Ibid. 306. 

« Rymer, Foedera, XIII. 37. 


PART continents and sought to monopolize their united wealth and 
J trade. It was the dream of power and wealth for England 
and for themselves which nerved those men to seize the 
treasure fleets, to invade the Spanish Main, and to attempt 
the occupation of the hundreds of miles of coast which Spain 
was unable to colonize. In conception the plan was military 
and co mme rcial, — military in order that it might become com- 
mercial, — and colonization was its final and more permanent 

Humphrey and Adrian Gilbert — and to an extent their half- 
brother Raleigh was associated with them — were specially 
interested in the discovery of a northwest passage to Cathay^ 
and the East Indies. They held that America was the 
fabled island of Atlantis, and that around its northern end 
was the most convenient route to the east. Humphrey 
Gilbert wrote a " discourse " in support of this theory and 
defended it before the queen and council against the argu- 
ments urged by Anthony Jenkinson on behalf of the Mer- 
chant Adventurers and in favor of the northeast passage.^ 
The voyages of Frobisher and Davis were the outcome of 
Gilbert's idea, and when, in 1578, having been knighted, he 
procured a patent from the queen, it was with a view to 
further exploration and possible colonization within unoccu- 
pied regions in comparatively northern latitudes. 

In the patent^ to Sir Humphrey Gilbert the concessions 
made through earlier grants reappear, but in greater detail 
and in forms and phraseology which were to characterize the 
charters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The 
lands which it was expected that the patentee would dis- 
cover were to be held by homage as a royal . fief, but all 
services should be discharged by the payment of one-fifth of 
the gold and silver ore to be found in the soil. This com- 
mutation transformed the tenure practically into one of 

1 Hakluyt, in. 32. 

^ Ihid, 174. See petition to queen for this, signed by Gilbert, Sir Geoige 
Peckham, Mr. Carlilef Sir Richard Grenyille, and others; also a letter to 
the Earl of Lincoln, Lord High Admiral of England, urging him to sup- 
port the petition. Colonial Papers, 1675-1676, Addenda. Colonial Papon* 
1674-1660, 1. 


(socage^ even though the oath of homage continued to be CHAP. 

taken. Permission was given to Gilbert, during a period of ^^ ^ 

six years and under license from the lord high treasurer and 
the privy council, to transport subjects from England and 
establish one or more colonies within the regions which he 
should discover. The colonists should remain under alle- 
giance to the crown, but be subject to subordinate rights 
o f governme nt administered by the patentee, tliese to Tie in 
general agreement with the laws and polity of England and 
not inconsistent with the form of religion professed by the 
Elnglish Church. When a place of settlement should be 
determined upon, the authority of the proprietor, his right 
to grant land and his exclusive rights of trade, should extend 
over a territory encompassing the settlement on all sides to / 
a distance of two hundred leagues. No limit was set to the 
number of such provinces which Sir Humphrey Gilbert 
might establish. 

Gilbert from the first turned his eyes toward Newfound- 
land and the coasts which for more than a century had been 
visited by fishermen from the leading states of western 
Europe. He proposed to take the northern route across 
the Atlantic, the course over which Cabot had sailed and 
the one which would bring him most directly to the Ameri- 
can coast. Large preparations were at once made for a 
voyage. In these preparations Gilbert had the support not 
only of Sir George Peckham, Sir Richard Grenville, and 
many other knights and inhabitants,^ chiefly of the south 
and west of England, but of Walsingham himself, "the 
pillar unto whom I leant." By September, 1678, eleven 
vessels, with five hundred men, all provisioned lor a year, 
were gathered at Dartmouth. Among them were George 
and William Carew, Henry and Francis KnoUys, and, 
greatest of all, Gilbert's half-brother, Walter Raleigh. 

1 PoUock aod Maitland, History of English Law, L 286. 

* The names of many who contributed toward the voyage are given in 
Colonial Papers, 1675-1676, Addenda, 16. Sir George Peckham and Sir 
Thomas Gerrard, the latter of whom appears subsequently among Gilbert's 
sapporters, were Catholics, and, like the Earl of Arundel at the beginning of 
the reign of James I, were interested in plans for the settlement of Catholic 
Ttfcosants in America. Baxter, Gorges, 1. 66 ; Holinshed, Chronicle, III. 1360. 


Like all bodies of men who at that time went on expedi" 
tions to the west, they were piratically inclined. Many 
wild spirits among them sought omy plunder, and they 
apparently insisted that Gilbert should choose'the southern 
route, because it o£Fered the best chance of seizing Spanish 
territory or Spanish treasure ships. The government, how- 
ever, was unwilling that Spain should be openly attacked, 
and somewhat later brought pressure directly to bear to 
prevent this. Dissensions broke out among Gilbert's force, 
and Henry KnoUysTwith four vessels and 160 men, withdrew. 
Gilbert soon after set sail with seven vessels and 389 men, 
and chose the route to the southwest. This brought him 
into Spanish waters, where he met with some disaster. Of 
this the only positive knowledge that we have is, that one 
of the ships, of which Miles Morgan ^ was captain, was lost. 
Gilbert wrote later that he returned with great loss from his 
first expedition, because he would not himself do, or suffer 
any one of his company to do, anything contrary to the 
pledges which he had given to the queen and Walsingham ; * 
if he had not preferred credit to gain, he need not have 
returned so poor as he did. 

The voyage was now abandoned, and Gilbert, with a part 
of his vessels, was for a time occupied again with Irish 
affairs. The losses consequent on the failure of his ex- 
pedition seriously embarrassed him, so that in 1581 he 
complained to Walsingham of " daily arrests, executions and 
outlawries," and declared that he was forced to pledge his 
wife's clothing in order to secure his creditors. He peti- 
tioned for the recovery of £2000 due him from the govern- 
ment in Ireland. 

But by the summer of 1682 the courage of Gilbert had so 
far revived that he was actively preparing for another voy- 
age, which it was his intention to conduct in person. Four 
out of the six years within which according to his patent he 
must found a colony or forfeit his grant had already passed, 
and it was necessary to act with promptness. Fortunately 
his old friend had not lost confidence in him, and many 

1 Dasent, Acts of the Privy Council, 1578-1680, 109, 142-146. 
« Colonial Papers, 1676-1676, Addenda, p. 18. 


others came to his assistance, though the queen expressed CHAP, 
the wish that he might stay at home, and reminded him of ^ ^ j 
his reputation for ill luck at sea. Fortunately an impor- 
tant series of documents has been preserved ^ which reveal - 
in outline the nature and extent of the support which 
Gilbert* secured for this the last enterprise of his life, and 
the foim of the provinces which, as a result, he intended to 
establish across sea. Because of the light which they throw 
upon this and later schemes of colonization, it is necessary 
to refer to their contents. 

Like all other recipients of proprietary grants, Gilbert 
sought contQhjotions toward the expense of his enterprise 
by offering in return trade j)rivileges _and grants of land 
along the coasts and within the vast unoccupied territories \ 
which he had obtained the exclusive privilege of visiting. 
We infer that a number of small contributions had been 
secured in this way for the first voyage. Now the same was 
attempted on a larger scale. To this end an association of 
merchants and their apprentices living in and about South- ^ 
ampton was formed, to be known, until incorporated under 
some other name, as the Merchant Ad venturers with Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert.* Southampton was to be the staple for 
'all their trade with the "prospective provinces in America, 
the merchants themselves paying half customs, and their 
apprentices the full rates. Every adventurer who contrib- 
uted £5 should be entitled, in addition to the return 


thereupon, to one thou sand acr es of land. Those who went 
in person, and without goods, should enjoy freedom of trade 
and the benefit of a single or double share of land according 
to their rank. Those who on the first voyage should both ^ 
contribute and go in person should receive a double share of / 

i Colonial Papers, Addenda, 8 et seq. The papers relating to Gilbert 
are now in print in full in Slafter's Sir Humphrey Gylberte, Pubs, of Prince 
Society, vol. 17. 

* Besides various organizations of merchant adventurers which had been 
in existence in England for nearly two centuries, Gilbert might suggest as a 
precedent for this the fact that in 1565 by act of parliament a corporation 
was established for the discovery of new trades, i.e. for the encouragement 
of colonization. Of this body Gilbert was a member. 8 Eliz. c. 17. Doyle, 
English in America, Southern Colonies, 57. 


land. Land was to be subject to a perpetual q uitrent o f ten 
shillings per thousand acres. Sir Humphrey, Eis wife, and 
all his blood relatives were to be forever free of the said 
territories and to enjoy all privileges without fines, while 
other adventurers, presumably when in the colonies, were to 
be free both in persons and goods from torture, martial law, 
arbitrary arrests, and attachments in all forms. A possible 
suggestion of Sir Humphrey's opposition to the theory of 
the northeast passage may be seen in his requirement that 
none of the merchants of the Muscovy company or their 
issue should be admitted to the new society. The same 
prohibition was to apply to residents of Southampton who 
had not contributed toward Gilbert's previous voyage, or 
who should not aid him in the present one. On the other 
hand, those who had been adventurers with him in 1578 and 
who had continued with him until the expedition had 
returned to iCinsale in Ireland, were thereby to be entitled 
to full shares in the present enterprise. All who became 
colonists must give bond to obey the articles of agreement 
and the queen's commission, and to conform as near as Jfbs- 
sible to the rules and policy of the society and of the pro- 
prietor. The officials of the society were to be a governor, 
eight assistants, a treasurer, agent, and secretary. General 
courts of the company were to meet twice every " year. 
These^bodies were given power to elect the assistants. The 
other officers were in the first instanSe to be appointed by 
the proprietor, but in his absence Secretary Walsingham was 
to appoint in each case from a list of three nominated by the 
society. New adventurers might be admitted to the society 
on the payment of certain dues, with the reservation of a 
part of these to the proprietor, his heirs, and assigns. Thus 
as a means of securing funds the preliminary steps for the 
organization of a trading company were taken which might 
traffic and colonize within the vast domain that Sir Hum- 
phrey had received, but no rights of government appear to 
have been expressly conferred on the company. 

Four other agreements were also drawn and enrolled by 
which Sir Humphrey sought to reward his most valued 
friends by empowering them to discover, settle, and estab- 


lish subordinate proprietorships within his domain. The CHAP, 
first of these empowered Sir Thomas Gerrard and Sir ^' 
George P eckham to occupy 1 ,500,00 acres, together with 
two adjoining islands, at some point between the Cape 
of Florida and Cape Breton; by the second Sir George 
Peckham was granted 500,000 acres, near the former tract ; 
while by a third he and his son were authorized to take 
possession of the region supposed to comprise all of Narra- 
gansett bay and the islands within it, together with 1,500,000 
acres adjoining thereto. The fourth enrolment provided 
for a grant of 3,000,000 acres to Sir Philip Sidney, which he 
immediately transferred to Peckham. All these were to be 
held by socage, subject to the payment of a quitrent to the 
chief proprie!br, and with the enjoyment of riiEte of trade 
and the usual nominal jurisdictions. 

Finally, before he sailed, Sir Humphrey made an assign- 
ment — to take effect in case of his death or other serious 
mishap — of all his estate, right, and authority under the 
patent of 1578 to Sir John Gilbert, Sir George Peckham, and 
William Archer. This document reveals the fact that he 
had planned for the reservation of certain sei gniori es or lord- 
ships, fifty English miles square, for his widow and sons ; 
also for a grant of twenty miles square in fee simple for each 
of his daughters; these all to be subject to rent and the 
obligation of military service, and to carry with them rights 
of jurisdiction. The assigns were also empowered to grant 
the land not otherwise provided for in small lots in fee farm 
or leasehold, reserving the best places for towns, commons, 
*forts, the support of the poor, and the support of captains 
and governors. Provision was made for the transportation 
and settlement of tenants and servants, as well as small free- 
holders, and for the reproduction in the province of the 
ordinary features of tenant right. Servants and tenants 
might be sent over by the state or by adventurers. The 
province was to be divided into parishes, with a system of 
tithes and glebes. The existence of a bishop, or even of an 
archbishop, within the province was also suggested. The 
obligations of the as size of arms were to be enforced, while 
general assessments should be levied for purposes of defence. 



PART This money should be used with the consent of the chief 
governor and of the majority of a body of thirteen councillors 
chosen by the people. The produce of the customs, chief 
rents, royalties, and jurisdictions were reserved to the heirs 
male and the widow of the chief proprietor. The assignees 
"^ / should jointly exercise the appointing and other administra- 
L tive powers. 

The writings of Sir Humphrey Gilbert concerning the 
northwest passage, his persistent urging of his views, the 
great sacrifices which he repeatedly and willingly bore in 
order to realize them, had already proved him to be an ideal- 
ist in the sphere of discovery. A powerful imag^ation and 
strong will, together with the lofty ambition born of these, 
must indeed characterize all leaders in such hazardous enter- 
prises. From the plans which have just been outlined it 
appears that before his mind floated also the vision of a great 
proprietary dominion in America which, with its landed 
gentry, freeholders, tenants, counties, boroughs, should re- 
produce the chief features of English political and industrial 
society. He had thought this scheme out even to its details a 
generation before an English colonist was to be permanently 
settled on the American coasts, and while as yet they had 
scarcely been visited by an English vessel. Sir Humphrey 
Nv Gilbert appears then as the precursor of Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges, Sir William Alexander, the Calverts, the Earl of 
Shaftesbury, and John Locke, as the first in the series of 
colonizers from among the British nobility and gentry who 
desired to see the aristocratic system in state and church, 
with which they were familiar in England, reproduced in the 
new world. 

But how small in this case were the results actually 
reached, when compared with the plans that were formulated I 
After having sold much of his estate, with the aid of Raleigh 
five ships were fitted out, the largest of two hundred tons' 
burden, and the smallest of ten tons' burden.^ According to 
the custom of the time one was termed the admiral, another 
the vice-admiral, a third the rear-admiral. Two hundred 
and sixty men, many of whom were lawless adventurers, were 
1 Hakluyt, m. 189. Relation of Edward Haies. 


enlisted for the voyage. Among the men were a variety of CHAP, 
artisans, miners, and workers in metals. Small wares were 
taken for the Indian trade. In June, 1583, under the 
authority of a special commission from the crown, the fleet 
sailed, Gilbert leading it in person with the title of general. 
Raleigh^s ship, the largest of all and holding the place of 
vice-admiral, soon turned back, and only the four other 
vessels pursued the voyage to the end. About the close of 
July they entered the harbor of Saint John's, Newfoundland, 
where the royal commission was shown to the fishermen of 
various nationalities who were in the port, and afterwards 
read and interpreted for the benefit of the foreigners who 
were present.^ By virtue of this, and in accordance with 
ancient custom, possession of the soil within a radius of two 
hundred leagues was taken in the name of the queen and of 
her grantees by the transfer of the rod and turf. Proclama- 
tion was then made by Gilbert that the soil would henceforth 
be held of the queen and of himself, and that ordinances 
would be issued To? the government of those who should 
inhabit the province or trade within it. Three such were at 
once proclaimed, to the effect that the religion of the Church 
of England would be maintained ; that any assault upon the 
sovereign rights of the crown over the territory would be 
adjudged high treason and punished as such ; that, if any 
one should utter words to the dishonor of the queen, he 
should lose his ears, and his ship and goods should be confis- 
cated. Obedience was promised by the general voice and 
consent of those who were present, both foreigners and Eng- 
lishmen. After the assembly had dispersed, the arms of 
England were set up, and several parcels of land adjacent to 
the shore, both in the harbor of Saint John's and elsewhere, 
were granted to the fishermen to be used in the prosecution 
of their business. These were held subject to rent and ser- 

With this Sir Humphrey Gilbert's positive work in con- 
nection with the settlement of North America came to an 
end. Many of his colonists escaped from his control, and 
fled into the woods, or became freebooters. Others, on 

• 1 Hakluyt, m. 192. 

- - ; 


PART their own request, were taken back to England. With 
those who remained, after revictualling from the stock of 
provisions already available in Newfoundland, Gilbert pur- 
sued his voyage of discovery toward the southwest. Buf- 
feted by storms of increasing violence and visited by a series 
of disastersrafter little more than a month had passed he 
was forced to turn his course homeward. But on the way 
the tiny craft in which he insisted upon sailing was lost, and 
with it Gilbert himself perished. We are told that he had 
already formed a project for sending out two fleets the next 
year, and that he hoped for large assistance from the queen. 
But his assigns took no steps to execute this plan, though 
Peckham did publish one of the best pamphlets ^ of the time 
on the prospects and advantages of colonization in America. 
Captain J. Carlile,^ a son-in-law of Walsingham, also urged 
the Muscovy company, because of obstacles which hindered 
the success of the Russian trade, to turn its efforts toward 
America, and a committee considered the proposal. In 1584 
Adrian Gilbert, with certain associates, procured a patent 
incorporating them for five years under the name of the 
Colleagues of the Fellowship for the Discovery of the North- 
west Passage. Their objects were similar to those set forth 
in the patent of 1578, though they sought to obtain them under 
the form of a corporation. But these projects came to 
naught, and it was reserved for Walter Raleigh to take up 
the work where his relative and associatSSTKad left it and 
carry it on a stage farther toward success. 

The royal. chart er^ which Raleigh procured, March 26, 
1584, was an almost exact reproduction of that issued to 
Gilbert six years before. The'^penoJ prescribed as that 
within which a colony must be established was the same, 
and the territory over which rights of trade and government 
should extend was to have the same radius as that specified 
in Gilbert's charter. Raleigh drew his support from much 

1 Hakluyt, m. 208. 

2 Ibid, 22S. 
* Ibid. 297 ; Hazard, State Papen, I. 33 ; Tarbox, Sir Walter Raleigh and 

His Colony in America (Prince Soc.), 96. Printed also in many other 


the same class as did Gilbert, Sir Richard Grenville, Ralph CHAP. 
Lane, Thomas Cavendish representing well the spirit of ^ ^' j 
Elizabethan seamen. Still, merchants appear to have borne 
a larger share in the later than in the earlier enterprise, and 
it was conducted in a more practical spirit, with less of 
dreamy idealism than had characterized Gilbert. Raleigh 
chose the southern route and sought warmer climes than did 
his predecessor. Two captains, Amidas and Barlow, were 
sent out in advance to select a site for the colony. Each of 
the expeditions which followed delayed for a longer or 
shorter time in the West Indies, thus coming directly and 
in a somewhat hostile manner into contact with the Spanish 
power. The place selected for the colony was adjaceAt to 
Florida as then understood in American geography. The 
province of Virginia, as it now comes dimly into view, had 
it approximated at all closely to the extent suggested in the 
charter, would have overlapped the Spanish possessions on 
the south and extended almost to the frozen regions of the 
north. The spot, however, which was actually settled and 
held at intervals for about three years, was Roanoke island, ^ ^ 
within the sounds of North Carolina, while the explorations 
of the colonists extended from somewhat beyond Cape Look- 
out on the south to the region of Norfolk, Virginia, on the 
north — more than 200 miles — and inland to a distance 
somewhat less than 150 miles. About eighteen of the 
modern counties within the coast district^ of North Caro- 
lina are supposed to have been visited by them. 

At Roanoke within this vast ^rgyince^f^JVirginia two 
colonies were established, one under Ralph Lan e, and^Iater 
a second under Captain John White. We desire in this 
connection to consider these only so far as they illustrate 
the history of the proprietary province in its rudimentary 
form. No commissions or instructions from Raleigh, the 
proprietor, have been preserved, but we know that such in 
some form must have been issued by him. Tudor officialism ^ 

1 Hawks, History of North Carolina, I. 108, 111. 

s Proof of these statements and of those which follow will be found in the 
relations of Lane and White in the third volume of Hakluyt's Voyages, and 
in the letters of Lane printed in Archseologia Americana, IV. 


PART with its pretentious titles was present even in this small set- 
J tlement. We hear of a provost marshal or " high marshal,"' 
of a treasurer and vice-treasurer, of a master of the victuals, 
and a keeper of the store. Philip Amidas, who had been 
one of the captains on the previous voyage, held under Lane 
the post of "admiral of the country," and was a sort of 
deputy-governor. Ralph Lane himself was gov erno r, and 
was specially intrusted with tfie duty of founding tlie col- 
ony and administering its affairs. John White bore a sim- 
ilar relation toward the second colony. 

Sir Richard GrenvU le held the office of general in the 
first expedition and exercised^ts functions, whatever they 
were, at Roanoke for about two months. His departure for 
England at the end of that time brought to a close his con- 
nection with the first colony, though not with its patrons in 
England. Grenville's title directs attention prominently to 
the milit ary side of the enterprise. In a writing which 
probably eman'aled from him. Lane is referred to as his 
"deputy." Lane himself states that he occupied the "sec- 
ond place" under Grenville.^ The inference is that, when 
the two were serving together, Grenville was the chief and 
Lane the subordinate. Of course Lane would be unwilling 
to acknowledge that he was a subordinate, and we must 
doubt if Raleigh had clearly defined the relations between 
the two leaders in his commissions. We know, indeed, that 
Lane and Grenville quarrelled on the way over, and it is 
possible that it was concerning questions of jurisdiction, or 
of policy and jurisdiction combined. Lane wrote back to 
Walsingham charging Grenville with tyrannical conduct, 
continued through the entire outward voyage, and refers to 
a " book " dedicated to Raleigh in which this is set down in 
detail. He also cites the testimony of Thomas Cavendish, 
Edward Gorges, and John Clarke, captain of the flyboat, 
in support of the complaints. It is stated that Grenville 
even threatened to have Lane executed. On the general's 

^ Hakluyt, m. 323 ; Arch. Am. IV. 27. Major thinks that Grenville 
was simply commander of the expedition. Strachey, Hist, of Travaile into 
Virginia (Hakluyt Soc.), 144. Doyle, 78, states that Grenville ^'was to 
establish the setUement and leave it under the charge of Ralph Lane.** 


arrival in England it was supposed that he, in turn, would CHAT 
submit to Walsingham and Raleigh charges against several 
of the prominent men of the colony. " For mine own part," 
writes Lane, " I have had so much experience of his govern- 
ment as I am humbly to desire your honor, and the rest of 
my honorablest friends, to give me their favors to be freed 
from that place where Sir R. GrenviUe is to carry any 
authority in chief." Have we here an instance of such 
strife as was later caused and continued between the gov- 
ernors and intendants in the French province of Canada, as 
the result of locating the military and civil power in differ- 
ent hands? Lane, in his subsequent dealings with the 
Indians and his management of the affairs of the colony, 
proved that he had some of the spirit later shown by Cap- 
tain John Smith. GrenviUe possessed the fierce, indomi- 
table nature which later won for him imperishable renown 
as the commander of the Mevenge^ which indeed character- 
ized all the Elizabethan seamen who distinguished themselves 
by assault s on Spa in. It is not difficult, then, to imagine 
how, under the circumstances, two such natures, though 
ardent supporters of the same cause, might become involved 
in an almost deadly feud. But after Grenville's return to 
England we hear no more of the strife. When he and Lane 
met again, it was as co-workers in the preparations for the 
defence of England against the Armada.^ 

Some of the chief men of the first colony, we are told, 
acted as ^^ assistants for counsel and good directions in the 
voyage," but that they did so by appointment from the 
proprietor is not stated and is scarcely probable. Cavendish, 
Arundel, Stukeley, and others are mentioned in this connec- 
tion. Prior to the time when the question, whether or not 
they 8bbul4 leave Roanoke and return home with Drake, 
was under discussion, the consultations to which reference 
is made are such as were always held by bodies of men who 
are exploring the wilderness, seeking mines or places for 
settlement, holding interviews with the Indians or preparing 
for defence against them, building a fort or procuring means 
of subsistence. After GrenviUe left, and indeed as soon 

1 Arch. Am. IV. 382. 

TOL. I — 


PART as the voyage ended and the work of founding the colony 
J began in earnefit, Lane's function as governor grew steadily 
in importance. So far as we know, perfect harmony existed 
between him and the body of the colonists. . \ 

One hun dred and s even colonists, all men, came over on 
the first expedition. Their names have been preserved, and 
among them fourteen appear with the title of m§ater. Of 
these, Thomas Hariot had received the degree of bachelor of 
arts from Oxford, and became the missionary and scientific 
chronicler of the colony. We hear of several other " gentle- 
men,'' some of whose names have already been mentioned ; 
but we do not know that they all remained in the colony 
throughout the year of its existence. 

A small fort and probably some rude dwellings were built 
by the first settlers on Roanoke island. These formed the 
nucleus of the colony. From this as a centre, and partly 
under suggestions from the Indians, explorations were made 
by water and land, toward the south, west, and north. These 
revealed the fruitfulness of the country, and also, because 
of poor harbors and shifting sand bars, the unsuitableness 
of the location for a permanent colony. Through reports of 
the Indians, Lane soon heard of the region about Chesa- 
peake bay, and that it would be more suitable for colbhi- 
zation. A trend in that direction was at once started 
which would probably have soon resulted in the transfer 
of the colony thither, or the founding of a new one, had 
Raleigh's experiment proved permanently successful. 

Lane, profiting by the relations which Amidas and Bar- 
low had established with the natives, made skilful use of 
their help, not only to increase his knowledge of the country, 
but in supplying the colony with fish, maize, and fruits. 
Like all colonizers of his generation, who were imitating 
/ Spain while they were fighting her. Lane considered the two 
chief objects of his enterprise to be the discovery of a gold 
mine and of a route to the South Sea. Indian tales stimu- 
lated his search for these, especially up the course of the 
Moratoc or Roanoke river, and the journeyings in turn 
extended relations with the Indians. Suspicions concerning 
the purposes of the newcomers developed in the minds of 



the natives, which were increased by Lane's activity and CHAP 
address. A combination was soon formed among them to 
cut off the colonists' supply of food. This had immediately 
a twofold result : it involved the English in their first con- 
flict with the Indians, in which the superiority of Eu ropean 
warfare was shown, and Pemisapan, the leader of the hostile^ 
natives, was slain ; on the other hand, it necessitated a cer- 
tain dispersion of the colonists to points within the circle of 
their explorations where they could more easily supply 
themselves with food. As the famine grew severe. Captain 
Stafford with twenty men was sent to the admiral's station 
at Croatan, eleven men were sent to Hatte ras to live there 
with the provost marshal, and every weeE from sixteen to 
twenty of the rest of the company were despatched to the 
mainland opposite Roanoke to live upon the oysters and 
other food procurable there. Hariot^ stated that Raleigh 
had cfranted land in estates of five hundred acres or more to 
those who had come over in persoj^ . But we do not learn 
that these grants were laid oufor S^roved. The soil, how- 
ever, was jointly cu ltivated to an extent, and we are told 
that in the spring of 1586 "they sowed, planted, and set 
such things as were necessary for their relief in so plentiful 
a manner as might have sufficed them two years without any 
further labor," and that by the close of June their corn 
would have been ready to harvest.^ Hariot's relation also 
shows that they had gained an unusually co mprehe nsive view 
of the resources of the country, and knew that they were 
abundanll * 

But the colony was not yet self-supporting, the supply 
which they expected from England had not arrived, they 
were also exposed to the danger of Indian attacks and of 
destruction by the Spaniards. In the mind of Lane, we may 
surmise, lay also the conviction that colonization at Roanoke 
would always be carried on under great difficulties, and that 
the experiment had better be tried again on the Chesapeake. 
He may also well have dreaded further dealings wit£ Uren- 
ville, should the general return. Therefore, when in June, 
1586, about a year after the settlement of the colony, Drake 

1 Hakluyt, HI. 823, 340. « Ibid, 323. ""^^ 


PART appeared off the coast homeward bound from the West 
Indies, the temptation to accompany him was strong. This, 
however, does not seem at first to have been suggested. 
Drake offered to leave with the colonists provisions, arms, a 
bark of seventy tons, various smaller craft, all manned and 
furnished with two of his best captains. Lane at first 
simply requested that Drake would take home a number of 
the colonists who were weak and unfit for service. But in 
a great storm which followed, the bark intended for the 
colony was driven out to sea and did not return. Drake 
then offered a ship of 170 tons, but this was too large to 
pass the inlet, and therefore would be of little use to the 
settlement. Thereupon the captains and gentlemen among 
the colonists urged Lane to ask that they all might be taken 
back to England. The request was at once granted, and 
Roanoke was aban doned. In the hurry of embarkation 
the sailors, in disgusfat being delayed so long on that 
^^ stormy coast, threw overboard the books and records of the 
colonists, and thus perished writings which would probably 
have thrown light on the internal history of the experiment. 

That the resolve of Governor Lane and his associates to 
abandon Roanoke was a hasty one is evidenced by the fact that 
within a month after the colonists had left, three vessels — 
two under the command of Grenville — arrived with supplies 
and additional settlers. Finding no one, Grenville left fifteen 
men, provisioned for .two years, and returned to England. 
These, as later events showed, perished at the hands of the 
\ Indians. 

Rale igh^ profiting by experience, now addressed hin^self 
more systeniatically ^ than before to the founding of a colony. 
Imitating presumably the example of Sir Humphrey Gilbert 
and others, he associated with himi^lf nineteen London mer- 
chcuits as adventurers, who were to contribute "toward the 
expense of the enterprise and share its profits. Prominent 
among these was Thomas Smith, afterward treasurer of the 
London company.^ The names of nine others appear both 

1 See indenture in Hazard, I. 42 ; Hawks, L 194. Tarbox for some rea- 
son omits this document. 

2 Hawks, 1. 105. 


in this connection and among the adventurers of the Virginia CHAP, 
colony which was later founded at Jamestown. With them ^ ^ ^ 
were also joined thirteen gentlemen of London who proposed 
to settle in the colony, and who were made governor and as- 
sistants of the city of Raleigh, which it was hoped would be 
built and become the capital of the province. At their head 
was John White , who by the charter of incorporation was 
made governor. All who became members of the corpora- 
tion should enjoy freedom of trade with any colony which 
Kaleigh should thereafter found in America, and be exempt 
from all rents and subsidies, as well as from all duties and 
customs. Thus the office of general was dropped, the 
strength of the mercantile element in the undertaking was 
increased, and a borough government was expressly provided 
for the colony. Raleigh retained for himself the title of 
" chief governor of Virginia." 

A body of about one hundred and fifty colonists was brought 
together, among whom were several women — another indi- 
cation of greater wisdom in tEeToundmg of the enterprise. 
Instructions were also issued by the proprietor that Roanoke 
should be definitely abandoned and a new settlement made 
in the Chesapeake region. But this part of Raleigh's 
plan was thwarted by Simon Ferdinando, presumably a 
Spaniard, but who was one of the assistants and was master 
of the largest vessel on the outward voyage. When they 
had reached R oanok e, in July, 1587, and were searching for 
the men whomTJrenville had left, Ferdinando and the sailors 
insisted that a landing should be made there at once, and 
White was overruled. They found the houses which the first 
colony had built on the island still standing, but the new 
colony succeeded to the feud with the Indians and reopened 
the struggle with the natural difficulties of the place. 

Had Grenville or Lane been governor, with such powers 
as they enjoyed over the first colony, we may imagine that 
the proprietor's instructions would have been obeyed. But 
White seems to have been a more pliable man, somewhat 
easily turned from his course by the'SS^istants and other 
colonists. The real executive of the second colony seems 
to have been a council rather than the governor, and they 



PART shared quite fully the desires, and even whims, of the bodj 
of the colonists. Proof of this soon appeared. Controver- 
sies, we are told, arose between the governor and assistants 
over the question of choosing two of the latter to return to 
England as factors of the company ; only one among the 
assistants wished to go. Thereupon both planters and assist- 
ants began with one voice to urge the governor to go. 
This, of course, was a step which was likely to prove the ruin 
of the colony, for it needed above all a strong executive head 
to carry it through the perils of the approaching winter. 
White urged many and strong reasons against the idea, 
among which occurs the interesting suggestion that his pres- 
ence was especially necessary because they intended to re- 
move the seat of the colony fifty miles inland. But to the 
unanimous and persistent entreaties White at last yielded 
and sailed for home. With this event, whether it was the 
cause of the catastrophe or a mere incident, the colony van- 
ishes from sight. Of those who persuaded him to go not one 
survived to tell the story of their fate. A strong, even a 
despotic, leader might possibly have saved them ; but, as it 
was, they all fell victims either to the ocean or to a savage 

When White reached England he found the nation exert- 
ing all its strength in the preparations for defence against 
the Armada. Not until 1590 could White procure three 
ships in which to return to America. Long delays occurred 
during the voyage, and when he arrived at Roanoke and 
searched the neighboring coast, no living trace of jhe colo- 
nists could be found. Twelve years passed, and in 160S 
Raleigh sent out another vessel under Samuel Mace,^ a cap- 
tain of his own appointment, who made a last attempt tc 
find the lost colonists. But it was in vain. 

^ Purohas, Pilgrimes, IV. 165S. 






The voyages of discovery, the commercial enterprises, the CHAP. 
single experiment in colonization of the reign of Elizabeth, 
were the results of private enterprise. Individuals, associa- 
tions, or companies furnished the means, the state giving the 
requisite authority and verbal encouragement or guidance. 
Its financial resources, especially when administered with 
the caution that characterized Cecil and the queen, were 
husbanded for purposes of more direct and pressing utility. 
From the standpoint of the government ^discovery and colo- 
nization were as yet remote interests. Attention was being 
directed to them through the conflict wit h Spain, but the 
pressing need was the maintenance of English national inde- 
pendence, of that system of relations in church and state 
which it was hoped had been definitively established when 
Elizabeth came to the throne. During the early stages of 
the war with Spain, even naval operations had been left to 
a considerable extent to individual initiative — a survival 
of mediaeval conditions, when the state and its resources 
were relatively weak. It was therefore scarcely to be 
expected that a different policy would be pursued in the 
domain of colonization. If it should ever be adopted, it 
ittust be under the pressure of commercial or political rivalry, 
and after transmarine interests of magnitude and "generally 
recognized value had developed. 

Still, however, with the accession of the Stuarts to the 
throne an experiment was tried which suggested, not the 
assumption by the exchequer of responsibility for the ex- 
pense of colonization, for its losses or gains, but a much 
more systematic control over it than had ever characterized 



PART. Elizabethan policy. Though some of the features of this, 
J and some of its consequences, will best be understood when 
presented in another connection, yet it must be discussed at 
this point in order that its place in the development of the 
forms of colonial government may be seen. I refer to the 
system inaugurated under the charter of 1606, which resulted 
in the permanent colonization of Virginia. In this the pri- 
vate^ pYoprtefary eleinent appears iii the form of a body 
of patentees, much like the Southampton Associates of Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert, or the freemen of the city of Raleigh, 
but they are brought for practically all purposes under the 
control of a special royal council. The following events 
brought together the patentees, and committed them to the 

During the three or four years before this charter was 
issued, several private voyages of discovery were sent to 
the* coast of Northern Virginia, later New England. These 
were commanded by T&artholome w Gosnold, Martin Pring, 
George Weymouth. Henry Challons was also despatched 
on a similar errand, but he fell into the hands of the Span- 
iards and suffered a long imprisonment. Besides the aid 
given by certain Bristol, and possibly London, merchants, 
these voyages were made chiefly under the patronage of the 
Earl of Southampton, Baron Arundel of Wardour, Sir John 
Popham, Chief Justice of King's Bench, and Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges. Toward their success Richard Hakluyt had con- 
tributed the help of his enthusiasm, and liis wide knowledge 
of geography and of the history of discovery and coloniza- 
tion. The voyages were made partly with and partly with- 
out the consent of Raleigh, whose rights^ prior to his 
attainder had not been expressly extinguished, though 
they might have been held to have lapsed. The result of 
these voyages was to reveal more clearly the nature of the 
American coast north of the fortieth degree of latitude, the 
value of the fisheries and fur trade available there, the re- 
sources of the region in timber and other naval stores. Cer- 
tain natives who were carried to England by Weymouth 

^ Hazard, Historical Collections, I. 42 ; Palfrey, History of New England, 
L Sin. 


also greatly interested Gorges. These causes aroused anew CHAP, 
the interest of influential private parties in American colo- 
nization, and brought together the London and Plymouth 
patentees of 1606. The moving spirits in this enterprise at 
the outset are supposed to have been Chief Justice Popham 
and Sir Ferdinando Gorges, though their names do not 
appear among those of the petitioners for the charter. But 
of these petitioners, all except Richard Hakluyt had seen 
service either by land or sea in the recent war with Spain. 
One was a son of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and another a 
brother of Sir John Popham. Still another, Sir George 
Somers, had repeatedly served under Raleigh. Thus a close 
connection existed between this group and the earlier gen- 
eration of seamen and discoverers. 

At about the time when the charter of 1606 was issued, a 
paper ^ was prepared setting forth reasons for raising a public 
fund to be used in aid of discovery and colonization. After 
referring to some of the advantages, chiefly commercial, which 
colonies would bring to England, the writer affirms that it 
were better if the state would directly support their estab- 
lishment, than if it secured this by granting private monop- 
olies. A prestig e would thus be given to colonization 
which otherwise it could never attain. Contributions 
toward it would come in much more freely from the nation 
at large, and foreign nations would be less likely to threaten 
or otherwise injure the colonies. The author therefore 
proposed that commissioners should be appointed under an 
act of parliament, who should collect money for the purpose, 
drawing it so far as possible from the superfluous expendi- 
tures of the nation. Privileges and license to transport 
colonists should be procured from the king, and his honor 
should be pledged to assist and protect the project. Parlia- 
ment was not at this juncture to share in the work of colo- 
nization, and when its period of activity did come it assumed 
a form quite different from the one here suggested. But 
the paper expresses a desire for governmental backing which 

1 Brown, Grenesis of the United States, 37 ; First Republic, 5. This with 
some show of reason he attributes to Edward Haies, who accompanied Gil- 
bert on his last voyage and wrote the relation concerning it. 




FART was an advance on anything that Elizabeth had offered, and 
_' J which, in a certain form, James I was quite ready to grant. 
It is supposed that Sir John Popham prepared the first 
draft of the charter of 1606 , and Sir Edward Coke was 
attorney-general when it passed the seals. The recipients 
of the grants were two ^oups of . adventurers, or would-be 
settlers, one resident at London and the other at Plymouth. 
To the activities of these men which preceded the issue of 
the charter reference has already been made. The usual 
words of incorporation do not appear in the charter, but 
instead only the expressions " first colony," " second colony,'* 
*^ adventurers," ^^ associates." In the first set of instructions 
issued by the king concerning this enterprise — and the only 
set preserved — it is said that the king had " given license 
to sundry of his "loving subjects" and " to their associates, 
" to deduce and conduct two several colonies or plantations 
of settlers to America." To these patentees, as in the 
charters issued to Gilbert and Raleigh, permission was 
granted to establish settlements within a specified territory. 
The choice of a place for a colony was to secure to the 
grantees possession of a tract one hundred miles square, so 
located thaF the settlement should ITe In the middle of the 
eastern or coast line of the tract. As there were two groups 
of patentees and presumably at least two colonies would be 
established, and as a middle region "Three degrees broad 
was left open for joint settlement, the further provision 
became necessary that the colonies should be located at 
least one hundred miles apart. But this bestowment of land 
•\ was not made in such way that the patentees could grant it 
out to settlers. In the eighteenth and nineteenth clauses 
of the charter it was provided that such grants should be 
made by the king through letters patent under the great 
seal, and to those persons in whose behalf a petition should 
be presented by the council of the colony in which they were 
resident, or with which they were connected. 

The right to transport settlers and their supplies into the 
colonies, with the power to defend them, was given to the 
patentees, and by implication also the right to trade with 
them, though the latter was not bestowed in monopolistic 


form. Subjects other than adventurers or planters coul< 
trade with the colonists on the payment of a duty of two 
and one-half per cent, and foreigners on the payment of five 
per cent, on imports and exports, the revenue during the v 
first twenty-one years to go to the colonies and afterward V ^ 
to the king. In the instructions it was prescribed that for 
five years trade should b e carried on jointly in two or 
three stocEs^ and that all products of the colonies and all com- 
modities from England should pass through magazines or 
storehouses, of which in the colonies a cape^erchant should 
have charge. Each body of patentees was authorized during " 
the period of five years to select three from its own number 
to serve as factors in England, receiving commodities from 
the colonies, sending out goods, and guarding the interests 
of the adventurers. Though the existence in the colonies 
of individual property in land was not forbidden, the joint 
system of trade was almost inconsistent with its develop- 
ment, and we know that it did not develop till several ^ars A 
later. ^ 

Such were the functions of the patentees in the scheme of 
1606. They were proprietary, that is, industrial and com- ^ 
mercial, in their charl^te^. This group of men furnished 
the c apital for the enterprise, procured settlers, had immedi- 
ate charge of trade, and expected a profit as the result of { 
their eflForts. These are the functionsT which in all cases, 
though with varying degrees of eflFectiveness, proprietors 
have performed. The colonies which they founded were i 
plantations, worked by servants and laborers under various / 
forms of contract, and managed by overseers or factors. . 
The functions of these proprietors were similar to those of 
Gilbert, Raleigh, and their associates, and to the work per- 
formed by many other individuals and groups that were to 
follow. Such bodies of men were the prime movers in the 
initial stage of colonization. They embodied the power of 
private initiative, and, impelled by desire for gain, the spirit 
of adventure, or religious zeal, they started a movement 
toward colonization which was gradually to become national. 

But in the system of 1606 was another element, the royal ^ 
or governmental, which must now be described. Powers of 




PART was an advance on anything that Elizabeth had offered, and 
J which, in a certain form, James I was quite ready to grant. 

It is supposed that Sir John Popham prepared the first 
draft of the charter of .1606 , and Sir Edward, Coke was 
attorney-general when it passed the seals. The recipients 
of the grants were two groups of adventurers, or would-be 
settlers, one resident at London and the other at Plymouth. 
To the activities of these men which preceded the issue of 
the charter reference has already been made. The usual 
words of incorporation do not appear in the charter, but 
instead only the expressions " first colony," ** second colony,'* 
*^ adventurers," ^^ associates." In the first set of instructions 
issued by the king concerning this enterprise — and the only 
set preserved — it is said that the king had *^ given license 
to sundry of his "loving subjects" and " to their associates, 
" to deduce and conduct two several colonies or plantations 
of settlers to America." To these patentees, as in the 
charters issued to Gilbert and Raleigh, permission was 
granted to establish settlements within a specified territory. 
The choice of a place for a colony was to secure to the 
grantees possession of a tract one hundred miles square, so 
located that the settlement sHould^e in £he middle of the 
eastern or coast line of the tract. As there were two groups 
of patentees and presumably at least two colonies would be 
established, and as a middle region "^fee degrees broad 
was left open for joint settlement, the further provision 
became necessary that the colonies should be located at 
least one hundred miles apart. But this bestowment of land 
\ was not made in such way that the patentees could grant it 
out to settlers. In the eighteenth and nineteenth clauses 
of the charter it was provided that such grants should be 
made by the king through letters patent under the great 
seal, and to those persons in whose behalf a petition should 
be presented by the council of the colony in which they were 
resident, or with which they were connected. 

The right to transport settlers and their supplies into the 
colonies, with the power to defend them, was given to the 
patentees, and by implication also the right to trade with 
them, though the latter was not bestowed in monopolistic 



form. Subjects other than adventurers or planters could 
trade with the colonists on the payment of a duty of two ^ '-'x. 
and one-half per cent, and foreigners on the payment of five 
per cent, on imports and exports, the revenue during the 
first twenty-one years to go to the colonies and afterward 
to the king. In the instructions it was prescribed that for 
five years trade should b e carried on jointly,, pr in two or 
three stoc^ and that all products of the colonies and all com- 
modities from England should pass through magazines or 
storehouses, of which in the colonies a cape^merchant should 
have charge. Each body of patentees was authorized during " 
the period of five years to select three from its own number 
to serve as factors in England, receiving commodities from 
the colonies, sending out goods, and guarding the interests 
of the adventurers. Though the existence in the colonies 
of individual property in land was not forbidden, the joint 
system of trade was almost inconsistent with its develop- 
ment, and we know that it did not develop till several ^ars A 
later. ^ 

Such were the functions of the patentees in the scheme of 
1606. They were proprietary, that is, industrial and com- 
mercial, in their character. This group of men furnished 
the c apital for the enterprise, procured settlers, had immedi- 
ate charge of trade, and expected a profit as the result of ( 
their efforts. These are the functions which in all cases, 
though with varying degrees of effectiveness, proprietors 
We performed. The colonies which they founded werei 
plantations, worked by servants and laborers under various | 
fonns of contract, and managed by overseers or factors. . 
The functions of these proprietors were similar to those of 
Gilbert, Raleigh, and their associates, and to the work per- 
formed by many other individuals and groups that were to 
follow. Such bodies of men were the prime movers in the 
imtial stage of colonization. They embodied the power of 
private initiative, and, impelled by desire for gain, the spirit 
of adventure, or religious zeal, they started a movement 
toward colonization which was gradually to become national. 

Bat in the system of 1606 was another element, the royal ^ 
or governmental^ which must now be described. Powers of 


to I 

^ fnt were not directly bestowed on the grantees, 
provision was made for three councils, one.j*esident 
id and one in each^of theTwo colonies. The first 
TEeTRoyai Council for Virginia. ' Its members 
pointed by the crown. The charter provided that 
tiiey »aould be thirteen in number, but the first instructions 
reveal the fact that there were fourteen.^ They were, 
however, selected partly from the patentees for the first 
colony and partly from those of the second. Experience 
soon revealed the fact that it was very difficult to bring 
enough of these together to do business, and for that reason, 
by an ordinance issued in March, 1607, the number was 
increased, at the request of the patentees themselves, to 
about forty .^ In both these documents, also, it was stated 
that the king might increase or change the membership at 
will. The council was then his creature, though the mem- 
^ bers actually appointed were patentees. Each of the other 
^ twdv)uncils consisted of thirteen members, appointed by the 
royal council under instructions from the king, but endowed 
with power to choose their own president and fill vacancies 
among their own number.* They likewise, being planters, 
were either patentees or closely connected therewithT^** 

Through these bodies, and by means of instructions given 
to them, the king governed the colonies. Each council had 
a seal, which was the seal not of the patentees, but ** of the 
king for his council.'* To the royal^ council was given con- 
trol *'*' of and for all matters, that 6hall or may concern the 
government," not only within the colonies, but throughout 
the territory between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth paral- 
lels. To the local councils was given power to regulate the 
internal affairs of the colonies in pursuance of such instruc- 
tions as should be issued to them under the sign manual and 
privy seal of the king. The oath which was formulated for 
"^ the president of the local council contained a promise of 
fidelity not to the patentees, but to the king.^ By his first 
set of instructions the king prescribed wEat judicial powers^ 
the local council should exercise and how they should be 

1 Brown, Genesis, 66. * Ibid. 93. * Ibid. 67. 

« Ibid. 78. * Ibid. 68 et seq. 


exercised, decreed what punishments should be inflicted CHAP, 
for the more serious offences, and authorized the president ^ j* j 
to reprieve, but not to pardon. By the same authority, 
as we have seen, the entire industrial and commercial system ^ 
of the colonies wad prescribed. Exen^directions as to the 
place and method of settlemei\t were issued by the royal 

We have thus under the charter and instructions of 1606 V 
a mixed form of organization. On the one side it was pri- 
vate or proprietary ; on the other side it was public or royal, i 
It was neither wholly the one nor wholly the other. The I | 
assumption of strict royal control — presumably as a con- 
dition of the grant — prevented the system from being 
wholly proprietary ; the need which the king had of the 
resources of the patentees made their function indispensa- 
ble. While founding a royal colony he made use of the 
patentees, and of no others, as his agents or appointees for 
the work. They thus not only managed the trade of the • 
colonies, but governed them, though they performed the 
latter function as the immediate representatives of the king. 
If we call Virginia under this charter a royal province, we 
must remember that it had peculiar features, unlike the 
royal provinces of later times and such as were characteristic 
of the earliest stage of colonization. It was, in other words, ^ ^ 
a rudimentary or transitional form of organization, which 
was destined to give way to others that were more self- 

The problem which now confronted the patentees of 1606 
uras briefly this : with the limited capital at their disposal 
they must procure a sufficient number of colonists for their 
purpose, convey them in the small sailing craft of the time 
across the ocean, establish them in chosen sites on the west- 
ern shore of the Atlantic, and maintain and protect them 
there until they should become self-supporting. As prece- 
dents to guide them in this task they had the experience 
ofvarious Eur opean na tions, especially Spain and Portugal, 
so far as it had then gone ; the history of the plantations 
which had been established or were in process of estaBITsh- 
ment in Ireland ; and the recent experiment of Raleigh in 


PART trans-oceanic colonization. It is to be noted that very much 
of the experience upon which they could draw for examples 
had been gained by purely commercial companies, which 
had limited their efforts to the founding of trading factories 
in the East. The dreams of the discoverers concerning the 
wealth of the Indies and the routes which might lead to it 
also influenced their minds at the outset, as did, even to a 
larger extent, the success of the Spanish in working the 
Mexican and Peruvian mines. 

These precedents had an influence in determining the 
selection of colonists, the form of the colonies planted, and 
the objects toward which in the early years the efforts of the 
colonists were directed. To Spain, to mines and possible 
routes to the South Sea, we findlibundant reference both in 
the instructions of IheTearly patentees and in the writings of 
the first generation of colonizers. The impulse to explora- 
tion among the early settlers and their patrons was due 
largely to the example of Spain and to the hypothesis of 
Yerrazano concerning the location of the Western Sea. 
But these explorations failed to reveal a second Potosi, while 
from any mountain top which they could reach it was im- 
possible to discern the shores of that ocean concerning which 
the natives and the early navigators told such alluring tales. 
The Alleghanies presented an obstacle to discovery and oat 
off access to the interior of the continent. Aversion to life 
among the Indians had a similar confining effect. Hence 
mining and discovery on an ambitious scale soon faded out 
of English-American colonization, and left colonies of the 
ag ricultural type, with commercial, political, and social inter- 
ests which grew up in connection therewith. 

The form assumed by these colonies was the resultant of 
the combined action of the patentees or proprietors who 
were resident in England, and of the settlers who tooK up 
their residence in America. The proprietors planned the 
enterprises, selected the colonists, appointed and instructed 
the officials and factors who had immediate charge of the 
work of settlement, furnished the vessels which transported 
the settlers across the ocean and T^hich carried supplies and 
products of the Colonies to and fro for an indefinite period 





thereafter. The proprietors were the investors in these CHiS*. 
enterprises, and, under the more or less rigid supervision of 
the crown, their administrators ; resources and administra- 
tive direction, in the fall sense of the term, though to 
varying degrees, came from them. Being at the outset 
merchants, or knights and noblemen who were acting under 
the commercial impulse, they were guided, as we have said, 
to an extent by the experience of older commercial com- 
panies. But in the main we must suppose that their plans 
involved an immediate adaptation of means to ends. They 
attempted to give such form to their colonies, and to sup- 
port them in such way, as seemed best adapted to the 
conditions as they found them. Perhaps the iniBuence of 
earlier experience is seen more clearly in the organization 
assumed by the patentees themselves, than in any of the 
colonies which they founded. 

The colonists, with their resident officials, furnished the 
labor power and superintending skill which constituted the 
essence of the colony itself. They faced the perils of the out- 
ward voyage, and the still greater risk of famine, disease, 
and death in the new settlements. Their labor cleared the 
forests, built the towns, cultivated the fields, and established 
all the relations through which the food supply of the 
colony was procured. Such returns, in agricultural prod- 
ucts, lumber, furs, dyestuflfs, ores, fish, as the proprietors 
might hope to receive from their investment, came directly 
from the efforts of the colonists. The knowledge of the 
new country by which the proprietors must be guided in the 
development of their policy came from the labors and obser- 
vations of the colonists. Though they were under direction 
from home, yet the colonists must in the main provide for 
their own defence, develop relations with the natives, give 
spirit and extension to the institutions of government which 
had been mapped out for them by the proprietors. In such 
close interaction between proprietors and planters as has just 
been indicated, appears the essential nature of colonization 
under the earliest proprietary form. Then economic interests . 
were of prime importance, and the connection between the | 
colony and its proprietors was especially close. Later, the / 


—TiRT I colony became economically more independent, and developed 
^ ^ J \^ more than rudimentary political organism. With these 
changes the prop rietary province in its later^ form appea rs^ 
and exists under conditions of greater freedom and with 
characteristics different from those of the mere plantation. 
Reference to these general facts will, it is believed, con- 
tribute to a clearer understanding of the nature of the 
earliest English colonies. 

By the patentees of 1606 two colonies were planted, one 
at James t^pwn in S outh Virginia and the other at Ssy^d^oc 
in North^Virginia ; the former by the London group of ad- 
venturers, the latter by the Plymouth group. Sir Thomas 
Grates, Sir George Somers, Richard Hsdduyt, Bartholomew 
Gosnold, and a little later Sir Thomas Smith, were the 
leading patrons of the first colony, while Chief Justice Pop- 
ham and Sir Ferdinando Gorges most actively promoted the 
interests of the second. The great majority of the paten- 
tees — who were at the same time councillors of both col- 
onies — belonged to the English knighthood, the names of 
only a few merchants appearing among them. They 
belonged distinctively to the English official and military 
class, though many of them were deeply interested in ctts** 
covery, trade, and colonization, and were members of com- 
panies which were engaged in such enterprises in Europe 
and the East. One of their number, Richard Hakluyt, was 
a systematic student of geography and colonization, and 
could bring to their attention such useful precedents as 
history afforded. 

An "instruction by way of advice," thought to have 
been prepared by Hakluyt, under the direction of the royal 
council,^ was given to the first body of colonists that was 
sent out, for their guidance in selecting a place of settlement. 
With the resolve perhaps that the errors of Raleigh's colo- 
nists should not be repeated, Newport and his followers 
were directed to settle on the bank of some navigable river. 
That they might be the better protected against possible 
attack by the Spanish, they should establish their colony 

^ Neill, History of the Virginia Company, 8; Brown, Genesis of the United 
States, 79. 


some distance inland, but should have a small outpost near CHAP, 
the sea to warn the main settlement of approaching danger. ^ ^ , 
With a view to the possible discovery of a route to the 
South Sea — a prominent object of pursuit now as in the 
time of Gilbert — a river should be selected whose source 
was far inland, and if they chanced upon several rivers with 
branches, let them choose the one which ^^bendeth most 
toward the northwest, for that way you shall soonest find 
the other sea." The importance of selecting a healthy loca- 
tion for the settlement was enforced, and directions given 
respecting the opening of trade and other relations with the 
natives. That the colonists were regarded as a unit under 
ce ntralize d control, and that they should be manipulated so | 
asTestto secure the objects of the managers, is shown by 
the advice concerning the method of settlement. They 
were told that, after their food and munitions had been 
landed, it would be well to divide the colonists into three 
groups, one to build and fortify the town, attention being 
first paid to the storehouse ; the second to clear and pre- 
pare ground for planting ; the third to explore the river 
above the settlement. Dispersion of the colonists was not 
contemplated. The establishment of a single fortified post 
which should serve as a centre for exploration, for the dis- 
covery of mines, for trade with the Indians, and the exploit- 
ing of the resources of the country for the support of the 
colonists and the benefit of the adventurers, is the type of 
colonization suggested by the "advice." Captain Newport, 
the commander of the expedition, would soon return to 
England for additional supplies and colonists; he would 
carry with him specimens of the products of the colony, and 
as full information as it was possible to secure respecting 
the country and its resources. He would thus act as an 
intermediary between the colony and those who supported 
and governed it ; but no one was to be allowed to return 
without a passport, and nothing should be written which 
might discourage others. "The way to prosper and achieve 
good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the 
good of your country and your own." Of the issue of 
similar instructions to those who settled in North Virginia 

VOL. I — D 



PART we have no record, but it is not improbable that such were 
J issued, as they proceeded from the council which had juris- 
diction over both colonies, and since also the type of colony 
formed at Sagadahoc was the same, so far as the nature of 
the country would admit, as that established at Jamestown. 

Of the methods used by the adventurers at the outset to 
procure colonists we have no information, but the lists given 
by Smith for the Jamestown settlement show that from one- 
third to one-half bore the designation of gentlemen, while 
the rest were artisans and laborers. During the early years 
no women were employed and only a few boys. An eflfort 
was made to have each of the important trades represented 
in the colony, but agriculture became by the force of circum- 
stances so predominant and inclusive as an occupation, that 
it absorbed the services of gentlemen as well as laborers. 
Among the gentlemen were doubtless some of decayed for- 
tune and doubtful reputations, but the positively criminal 
element in this emigration was probably small. The laborers 
came largely from the yeomanry of England, the agricultural 
tenants and laborers who, owing to persistently low wages or 
displacement by war or other cause, had become so reduced 
in circumstances as to look upon removal to a new and dis- 
tant continent as likely to result in gain. 

The colonies which were founded at Sagadahoc and James- 
town were both plantations, owned, officered, and managed 
by the proprietors or company.^ The colonists were servants 
of the company. They were freely transported to Virginia 
in its vessels, and there worked for the company under pre- 
scribed regulations. They were fed and housed out of the 
products of the total labor of the colony, supplemented by 
cargoes of provisions received from home. When, if ever, 
the colony became able to furnish a surplus product, — lum- 
ber, furs, tobacco, — it was sent home in the vessels of the 
company and sold for the benefit of the adventurers. A 
profit, supposedly large, was also made by the adventurers 
and officers of their vessels on European goods taken to the 
colony and sold. These, as well as supplies of provisions 

^ See a suggestive article by L. D. Scisco on The Plantation T3rpe of Col- 
ony in Am. Hist Rev. VUL 260. 


from England, were regularly stored in a magazine or store- CHAP, 
house, under the charge of a cape-merchant, whence they 
were delivered to the colonists. The iqagaziofit and the 
wharf where the supplies from England were loaded and 
whence the products of the colony were shipped, were the 
economic centres of the settlement. The ships which 
brought out colonists and transported cargoes" l&ack and 
forth, were most important connecting links between the 
colony and its proprietors. Until the colony became self- 
supporting, its very existence depended on the prompt arrival 
of supplies. At Jamestown, under the first charter, they 
measured time by the intervals between " s upplies " ; later 
the periods m" the history of the colony were measured by 
governorships. At this early period the duties of the 
colonial officials were more economic thah political. They 
had to attend to a hundred petty details of colony house- 
keeping, and these overshadowed in number and importance 
the political, military, or judicial functions which they had 
to perform. They were more truly overseers and factors 
than governors, councillors, and judges in the later meaning 
of those terms. The captains who commanded the vessels 
which brought supplies, by virtue of this function, and inde- 
pendent of any office which they might hold, exerted a great 
influence over the fortunes of the colony. 

Much light will be thrown on the nature of these settle- 
ments by studying the form in w hich they werrmaae.'"As 
weTiave seen, in selecting a site, reference was had to neces- 
sities of defence, healthfulness, and accessibility to navi- 
gable water. Jamestown was located on a peninsula which 
extended into the James river from its northern bank, and 
where the adjacent channel was broad and so deep that ships 
conld be moored to trees on the shore. As it was more than 
thirty miles from the mouth of the river, it was thought to 
be sufficiently protected against Spanish attack, while it was 
accessible to the interior of the country which the colonists 
wished to explore and with which they desired to open rela- 
tions of various kinds. The result proved that healthf uIqcss 
wag, perhaps, not sufficiently considered in the selection of 
the site, while there was no cleared land in the vicinity, and 



PART much exhausting labor in felling trees was at once imposed 
- on the settlers. 

A location was selected at Sagadahoc which, so far as the 
region admitted or necessitated, was similar to that chosen 
for Jamestown. A sandy and rocky peninsula on the western 
bank of the Kennebec river near its mouth was selected for 
the purpose. In the channel opposite, or in an inlet adjacent 
to the peninsula, vessels could be anchored or moored. The 
situation was healthful, and the labor of clearing not so great 
as on the James river. The remoteness of the Spaniard 
from latitude forty-three and one-half degrees made it un- 
necessary to settle far inland, and the Frenchman, who was 
establishing himself at Port Royal and o£her points to the 
eastward, had not then developed activity as a colonist suffi- 
cient to make his presence seem dangerous. 

On both rivers the first work of the colonists after landing 
and clearing sufficient ground was the building of a fort. 
These were rectangular or triangular palisaded enclosures, 
so situated that one or more sides were adjacent to the water. 
Of the one at Sagadahoc, named Saint George, a contempo- 
rary plan 1 has been preserved, which shows that walls sur- 
rounded the entire settlement. Within it were located 
about nine dwellings, besides a chapel, a storehouse, muni- 
tion house, court of guard, kitchen, buttery, bakehouse, 
smithery, and cooperage. That all of these were actually 
built cannot be affirmed, but they were planned, while pro- 
vision was made that the leading officials should have separate 
dwellings. At the angles of the fort small cannon were 
placed. Outside the walls space was cleared for gardens 
and cultivated fields. This drawing throws a more vivid 
light on the character of this settlement than any other 
source of information we have concerning it. It suggests a 
communal group like a trading factory in the East Indies. 

Of the fort at Jamestown no plan or drawing of date 
earlier than 1620 has been preserved.* But from contem- 
porary descriptions we know in general the form and charac- 
ter of the settlement. "The fifteenth day of June" (1607), 

^ Brown, Genesis of the United States, 190 et seq. ; Publications of the 
Gorges Society, Thayer, Sagadahoc Colony, 167 et seq. 
3 Tyler, Cradle of the Republic, frontispiece. 


writes Greorge Percy, " we ^ had built and finished our fort, CHAP, 
which was triangle wise, having three bulwarks at every ' 
comer like a half-moon, and four or five pieces of artillery 
mounted in them." Smith states that when autumn came 
no houses for the settlers had been built, their cabins were 
^ worse than naught," and the tents, under which many had 
probably lived, were rotten.* But we know that by January, 
1608, several buildings had been erected within the fort, 
among which were a storehouse* for provision and ammuni- 
tion, a chapel, and dwellings for at least a part of the colonists. 
On the arrival of Newport with the first supply from England, 
early in January, a fire broke out which consumed a part of 
the palisade and aU the buildings in the fort with the excep- 
tion of three. Clothing and provisions were destroyed, and 
the minister, Mr. Hunt, lost his library. But with the 
assistance of Newport and his men the damage was soon 
repaired and the houses and chapel were rebuilt in somewhat 
improved fashion and arrangement. 

William Strach ey has left a description* of Jamestown 
fort as it was when Gates and Somers, and later Lord Dela- 
ware, arrived in 1610, and we may be certain that it pictures 
t£e settlement substantially as it was during all the early 
years of its existence. The fort was triangular in shape, 
one side of the triangle being parallel and adjacent to the 
river. It was surrounded with a palisade of planks and 
strong posts of oak, walnut, and other woods, all driven 
four feet into the ground. The palisade extended along 
the river bank 140 yards, accommodating itself thus 
to the nature of the ground, while the palisade on each 
of the other sides of the triangle was only one hundred yards 
in length.^ At every one of the three angles a bulwark, 

^ Brown, Genesis, 165. 

* Tme Relation, Arber, Works of Captain John Smith, 9. 

* Letter of Francis Perkins, Brown, Genesis, 175 ; Smith, Advertisements 
for the Unexperienced, in Arber, 957 ; Wingfield in Arch. Am. IV. 96 ; 
Smith, Tme Relation, and Map, in Arber. 

* A True Repertory, etc., in Purchas, Pilgrimes, IV. 1752 ; Tyler, The 
Cradle of the Republic, 25, 69. 

* This means that the palisade adjacent to the river extended some dis- 
tance beyond one or both of the soathem angles of the fort. 


PART or watch-tower, was built, in each of which one or two 
^* small cannon were mounted. Within the palisade and 
along each of its three sides was ^^a settled street of 
houses," ^ or more properly " cabins covered with clapboard 
and thatched with reeds or covered with bark." In the 
middle of the enclosure was a market-place, storehouse, 
corps de garde^ and chapel. At each of the bulwarks was a 
gate defended by a demi-culverin, but the principal gate was 
the one which opened toward the river, through which 
passed to and fro the chief traffic of the settlement. During 
the administration of Smith a well had been dug in the fort, 
but the water from it proved to be brackish and unwhole- 
some. From these statements and descriptions the substan- 
tial identity of the fort at Jamestown with that at Sagadahoc 
is evident. 

The first settlers landed at Jamestown in M ay, 160 7, while 
the landing at Sagadahoc was not effected till near the close 
of August* The result of this was that the northern 
colony could raise nothing for its subsistence during the 
first winter and had to depend wholly on the supplies 
they brought with them, additional supplies from England, 
and such food as they could procure by huntingj^ fishing, 
and^Jradinj^ with the Indians. The number of colonists 
who came out on the first vessels was about 120, sub- 
stantially the same numerically as those who accompanied 
Newport on his first voyage. But a great mistake had been 
made in the timing of the voyage to Sagadahoc, and this 
probably contributed as much toward the failure of that 
enterprise as any other cause. Apparently by the middle 
of December it had become evident that the full number 
of colonists could not find subsistence till the following 
summer. Hence at that time all except forty-five of the 
colonists returned to England, accompanied by complaints 
of the severity of the climate. This was the beginning of 

^ 1 It is stated in Smithes Generall Historie (Arber, 486) that when Smith 
left the colony in October, 1600, Jamestown was strongly palisaded and con- 
tained some fifty or sixty houses. It is not probable that all of these could 
have been located within the fort proper, not at least if, as Strachey says, it 
covered only half an acre of ground. 


the end. Those who remained seem to have been adequately CHAP, 
supplied with food, and there was not much sickness ; but ^ ^^' ^ 
the suspension of their activities during the long, cold winter 
proved too much for the weakened resolution of the forty- 
five who remained. It is probable that during the next' 
spring one or more small tracts were planted, but Sagadahoc 
was abandoned before it became in any true sense an agri- 
cultural settlement. A pinnace was built, and with it a few 
voyages of discovery were made up the river and along the 
coast to the east and west. Traffic on a small scale was 
opened with the Indians, and in the main friendly relations 
seem to have been established with them. But beyond this 
the Sagadahoc colonists did nothing to make themselves self- 

Acting under the "advice" from the royal council, the 
officers at Jamestown at the very outset set a part of the 
labor force of the community at work sowing wheat on 
the area of four acres or less, from which the trees used 
in the construction of the fort had just been removed.^ 
The seed for this had been brought from Europe. Seeds 
of fruits and vegetables, brought also from Europe, were 
planted in this limited area, the colony garden. A part of 
the sustenance of the colony for the first year was secured 
in this way. The second year, more land having been 
cleared^ the experiment with English wheat was tried a 
second time, but without conspicuous success. In 1609, 
while John Smith was at the head of affairs, the lesson of 
cultivating maize w as learned from the Indians, forty acres 
were planted with it, and in this way the food-producing 
capacity of the colony was greatly increased.^ The supply 
of fish and game in the fall was very large. The soil was 
found to be exceedingly fertile. But still the colony had 
not become self-supporting or free from the danger of 
famine. Moreover, while taking these preliminary steps, 
more than one serious crisis was passed, when the colony 
seemed on the verge of destruction. 

These small efforts had therefore to be supplemented by 

^ Brace, Economic History of Virginia, 194. 
* Ibid. 106 et seq, ; Smith, Works, 154. 


V _ -» 


PABT trade with the Indians. They, in that climate and from 
soil brSuch'* fertility aslhat of Virginia, were able to harvest 
considerable quantities of maize.^ The Accomac Indians 
produced enough to supply their needs for the entire twelve- 
month. Though this was not the case with those who lived 
on the mainland, yet the authorities agree in the statement 
that the voyages made to the Indian settlements during the 
fall and early winter found them well supplied with corn, 
from which purchases were readily made by the English. 
The trade thus opened served a threefold purpose ; it 
brought to Jamestown supplies of food without which its 
continued existence would have been impossible, it opened 
up friendly relations with the natives, and it facilitated and 
encouraged discovery. The chief service rendered by John 
Smith to the colony is to be found in the fact that when, 
on^the death of Studley, he became cape-merchant, he 
instituted trading expeditions for the purpose of procuring 
corn, and continued them at intervals during the two 
winters he was in the colony. His first expedition for this 
purpose was to Kecoughtan (Hampton), near the mouth of 
the river. Upon this he says he "was sent."* Later, in the 
autumn and early winter. Smith made his three famous 
journeys up the Chickahominy. On the first two of these 
he was moderately successful and found the natives eager 
to trade. The third brought him intimately into connec- 
tion with Indian life, for as a jcaptive he was taken 
through a large extent of country anJT)rought even to 
the residence of the Powhatan himself. From a later 
expedition, to the York River with Captain Newport, he 
returned with 250 bushels of com, and this exploit was 
repeated on two or three other occasions. In the spring of 
1608 a quantity of corn is said to have been extorted* from 
the Nansemond Indians as a condition of peace. In the 
early winter of 1609 another notable trading expedition was 
made to the residence of the Powhatan and of Opechan- 
canough on the York river. By means of all of these the 

1 Brace, 157 et seq. 

^ True Belation, in Arber, 9. 

* Generall Historie of Virginia, Arber, 432. 


store of food at the fort was increased, while Smith's energy CHAP 
as a leader and his skill in dealing with the natives was 
clearly revealed. 

To the importance of the supplie s periodically received 
from En gland as an additionaTsource whence the colonists 
at SagsBahoc, as well as Jamestown, procured sustenance, 
reference has already been made. The name was applied, at 
least in Jamestown, not only to the commodities brought, 
but to the vessels bringing them. Using the term in the 
latter sense, only one supply, properly speaking, was sent 
to Sagadahoc. It consisted of two vessels despatched by 
the adventurers in the spring of 1608, followed the next 
summer by a third vessel. These were loaded with com- 
modities, sent out with a view to insure the permanence of 
the colony ; but these same vessels on their return voyage \ 
carried back the entire body of colonists to England. * 

At Jamestown under the first charter two such supplies 
arrived, while in the summer of 1609 came a third, being 
part of the large fleet sent out immediately after^the issue 
of the second charter. The commander of all three, while 
at sea, was Captain Christopher Newpor t, and his authority 
there was supreme. The first supply consisted of two ves- 
sels, the John and Francis and the Phoenix. Of these the 
former arrived at Jamestown about the middle of January, 
1608, while the latter, having wintered in the West Indies, 
did not reach port till the close of the following April. New- 
port remained with his vessel at Jamestown till April 20, 
when, thinking his consort lost, he sailed for England. 
Captain Nelson, with the Phoenix^ remained at Jamestown 
till June 12, when he began his return voyage. The second 
supply consisted of only one ship, in which Newport arrived 
early in October, 1608. He now remained in the colony two 
months, when he returned to England. Nothing more was 
received or heard from the mother country till seven storm- 
beaten vessels came straggling in during the latter half of 
the summer of 1 609. ^ 

The vessels were small, more likely to be under than over 

1 Works of Smith, Arber's edition, 161, 470; Letter of Gabriel Archer, 
in Brown, Genesis, 328 et seq. 


?ART one hundred tons burden. Their voyages were few and 
long; the vessels might be injured or destroyed by storms, 
captured by pirates or by the Spaniards ; disease usually 
prevailed to an extent on board, yellow fever if they delayed 
long in the tropics. Besides the officers and crew, they 
carried, for their size, a considerable number of colonists. 
Their outward cargoes consisted of a variety of supplies for 
the colony. Medicines, spirits, beer, clothing, household 
furniture and utensils, tools, arms and ammunition, seeds, 
domestic animals, were brought to the colony in these vessels. 
And in addition a variety of articles of food were brought, 
such as meal, bread, butter, cheese, salted meat and fish, 
pease, preserved fruits. These, if they arrived in good con- 
dition, added not only to the amount, but especially to the 
variety, of colonial fare. 

But we often hear not only that they were injured on 
shipboard, but that they were partly or wholly destroyed 
while in the storehouse at Jamestown awaiting consumption. 
The officers and crew of the vessels had also to be supported 
out of the total resources of the colony during their long 
sojourns at Jamestown. Of this feature of the system 
Smith and his writers loudly and repeatedly complain. 
They also declare that the mariners seriously interfered 
with the course of Indian trade by ruthlessly bartering the 
tools, arms, and other possessions of the colonists for what- 
ever the savages had which awakened their fancy or cupidity.^ 
It is stated that during the fourteen weeks when the vessel 
which brought the second supply lay at Jamestown, nearly 
all the beef, pork, oil, aqua vitse, fish, butter, cheese, beer, and 
other similar articles of food which had been brought over 
for the colonists, were consumed. Smith's indictment is 
repeated for a later time by Strachey, and the truth of it is 
admitted by the company itself.^ Strachey charges the mari- 
ners with gfreatly cheapening the value of English commodi- 
ties by their reckless trading with the natives.* Goods which 
were to be sold in the colony seem also to have been con- 

1 Arber, 95, 103, 128, and corresponding passages in the Geneiall Historie. 
* Trae Repertory, etc., Porchas, Pilgrimes, IV. 1761. 
s A True Declaration of Viiginia, 17 ; Foioe, Tracts, m. 


signed to masters and pursers of the vessels, and they re- CHAP 
fused to part with them except at enormous profits. The ^ 
most which in the long run the system of supplies, with the 
magazine, could do for the colony was to furnish it to an 
extent with salted provisions, spirits, and certain foreign 
luxuries. The staple articles of food the colonists must 
p rodu ce from the soil, or procure by hunting, fishing, or 
traffic with the n ativeg . 

The supply, however, was more than jmrely a phase of 
the economic life of the colony. It sei^MT as the means of 
co mmunicatio n between the colonj^n the one side and the 
proprietors and home government on the other. Its com- 
mander performed in a rude way a function analogous to 
that of the later colonial agents. Not only did his ships 
carry letters, pamphlets, instructions, and other communica- 
tions to and from the colony, but he himself laid before the 
authorities at home his view of the situation and needs of 
the plantation. He doubtless communicated in a similar 
way to the colonists the views and plans of the patentees. 
Newport at least performed to its full extent the function as 
an intermediary, and might well do it, for he was a member 
of the plantation council. Later commanders lacked the 
official prestige of Newport. 

The early colonists at Jamestown, as elsewhere, had to 
struggle not only against famine, but against disease. Smith 
states, as we have seen, that, when the first auliimn came, 
suitable shelter had not been provided by the settlers. For 
such neglect, which the warmth of the climate and natural 
inertia permitted, the settlement paid dearly in the death 
of nearly forty of its members and the paralysis of e'^ffort 
through theliickness of the rest. At one time during this 
first visitation there were but six healthy men in the fort. 
Gosnold, the most trusted member of the council, died, and 
nearly all the other councillors were seriously ill. Industry 
almost ceased, and the leaders were driven to Indian trade 
as the only escape from certain destitution. ' TIeat, the 
miasma of the swamps, the general unsanitary conditions 
of the settlement, poor and insufficient food, combined in 
their effect on the untrained bodies of the colonists to 


PART produce this result. It is only the first of a hundred such 
phenomena which have appeared not only in the early settle- 
ments, but in the military camps of the colonial wars, and 
in those of later conflicts down even to our own times. The 
death-rate among the first generation of Europeans who 
a£Eempted to settle America was enormous, and it required 
a high birth-rate and frequent reenforcements from home 
to counterbalance the loss. Nearly all of those who 


came to Southern Virginia during the first two years of 
its existence as {Kil||ny perished in the process of becoming 
acclimated. The liabl^^s to sickness and death in the 
earliest settlements were among the greatest obstacles to 
colonization. They occasioned great losses to proprietors, 
and furnished, as in this case, a strong temptation to the 
abandonment of colonies during the early years of their 
existence. But after a few colonies had been founded, 
which became subsidiary food centres, and a degree of expe- 
rience had thus been gained, suffering in this form greatly 
decreased, and does not constitute a prominent feature in the 
history of the later colonies. 

Life in the compact settlements and under the trying 
circumstances which have been described, soon tested the 
wisdom of the plan which the crown and patentees had 
devised for the government of the colonies, and proved it 
to be ill adapted to the purpose. The executive power was 
lodged in the council ; the president was its creature, and of 
himself had no*"8pecial independence or authority. Dissen- 
sions naturally soon broke out in the council, and these con- 
tributed materially to the defeat of the enterprise. Of such 
dissensions we hear something in Sagadahoc. In the case of 
both colonies the crown had ordered that the instructions 
designating who the councillors were should not be opened 
till the vessels arrived at their destination. Thus the possi- 
bility of such conflicts as that which may have occurred be- 
tween Sir Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane was avoided. On 
the arrival at Sagadahoc it was found that six — or possibly 
eight — out of the thirteen required by the charter had been 
designated as councillors. They elected George Popham^ 
brother of the chief patron, and himself already an old man. 


to be president. A long list of subordinate officials were CHAP, 
also appointed, among whom Tudor military titles appear ^' 
with great prominence. The list included an admiral, 
vice-admiral, marshal, master of the ordnance, sergeant 
major, captain of the fort, corporal, secretary, chaplain, 
and searcher. These offices were distributed chiefly among 
the councillors. 

We hear later that the president was charged with weak- 
ness and lack of proper self-assertion. Ral^di Gilbert also 
became impressed ^ with the idea that th|^PRony lay within 
the territories formerly granted to bf^tather, and, thinking 
that the charter of 1574 had not Is^sed, sought to raise a 
faction in England and the colony in support of his claims 
under it. Sir Ferdinando Gorges presently learned of this, 
and in his irritation suggested to Robert Cecil, the secretary 
of state, that the king should take the colony into his own 
hands. But intervention by the government did not come. 
In the course of the winter George Popham died, and Gil- 
bert was chosen as his successor. When, the next season, 

^ the vessels brought from England the news of the death 
of Chief Justice Popham and of Sir John Gilbert, 
elder brother of Raleigh Gilbert, the president thought it 
necessary that he should return home. No one was left who 
was willing to take his place. This then became an added 
reason for the abandonment of the colony. 
But in the history of Jamestown and under the severer 

. tests which its fortunes imposed, we can clearly trace the 
progress of dissensions in the council and the elimination of 
one member after another until a practical autocracy was 
the re sult. While the first expedition under KTewport'was 
arsea, rumors of an intended mutiny were circulated, and 
John Smith, for alleged concealment of this, or other con- 
nectioFwith it, was kept in restraint for some four months, 
not being fully released till some six weeks after the colo- 
nists arrived in Virginia. Smith declared that in this he 
suffered g^oss injustice. But Wingfield apparently believed 
to an extent in the complicity of Smith, for he was later 
fined two hundred pounds for saying that Smith " did con- 

^ Baxter, Gorges, III. 158 et seq. 


PART ceal an intended mutiny."^ In this affair, whatever it was, 
the seed of further dissension was sown. 

On the arrival of the colonists in Virginia the seals were 
broken, and it was found that the members of the council 
were Bartholomew Gosnold, Edward Maria Wingfield, 
Christopher Newport, John Smith, John Ratcliffe,* John 
Martin, and George Kendall. Smith was not admitted to 
his place on the board till his release from detention. Wing- 
field was chosey^^resident for the first year. Of the pre- 
tentious list of ^Mli^l titles which appears at Sagadahoc we 
hear almost nothing.^^^ 

We soon learn that Kendall was removed from the coun- 
cil and imprisoned, ^^for that it did manifestly appeare he did 
practice to sowe discord between the president and coun- 
cell."* But serious troubles began during the first period of 
sickness in the colony. President Wingfield was not a man 
of great energy. He did not join the exploring expeditions, 
or try very actively to open trade with the Indians. Toward 
some of the serious problems which the colonists were fac- 
ing he maintained a passive attitude, remaining quietly at 
Jamestown and administering affairs there. Though a man 
of scrupulous honor, he was not fitted for the rough task of 
piloting the colony through to a condition of economic sta- 
bility, and he probably knew it. We can hardly imagine 
him disciplining the indolent colonists as Smith did at a 
later time, and to skill in dealing with the natives he seems 
to have made no pretension. Free and easy administrative 
methods, characteristic of the time and of colonial life every- 
where, were also tolerated. The cape-merchant^ received 
merchandise from the vessels in gross, and delivered it in 
such instalments as the president desired without preparing 
itemized lists. "I likewise," says Wingfield, "as occation 
moved me, spent them (i.e. commodities) in trade or by guift 
amongst the Indians. So likewise did Captain Newport take 

1 Wingfield'8 Discourse; Smith, True Relation, Map, and Generall Historie. 

2 His real name is said to have been Sicklemore. 
« Arber, 106, 408. 

* Wingfleld's Discourse, Arch. Am. IV. 80. 

* Ibid. 86. 



of them, when he went up to discover the King*s river, what CHA 
he thought good, without any noate of his hand mention- ^ ^^' 
ing the certainty ; and disposed of them as was fitt for him. 
Of these likewise I could make no accompt ; only I was well 
assured I had never bestowed the valewe of three penny 
whitles to my own use, nor to the private use of any other ; 
for I never carryed any favorite over with me, or intertayned 
any there." 

But, as the period of sickness progressed, Wingfield felt 
compelled to keep a strict watch over the limited stores of 
spirits, oil, vinegar, and^ similar articles. He refused some 
informal applications from councillors for such articles, but 
declared that he would not do so ii warrants were duly pre- 
sented, or if the council voted for an increase of allowances 
to all members alike ; but this it would not do. The presi- 
dent's sudden demand for vouchers provoked charges that 
he was keeping the supplies for his own use. Because of the 
administrative looseness which had prevailed, the written 
proofs were lacking, and it was difficult for him to do more 
than assert his innocence. 

As soon as Wingfield f^lt jfchftt.he was l3«[ingi criticised, lie 
offered to resign. Presently, however, it appeared that 
Katcfiifife, Martin, and Smith, influenced by Gabriel Archer, 
who was not a member of the council, had formed a plan to 
depose the president. This plan they executed very in- 
formally and without resistance on the part of Wingfield, 
electing Ratcliffe in his place. At an equally informal 
hearing, wEich took place the next day. Archer was ap- 
pointed recorder, and in that capacity read a list of charges 
against Wingfield, and the others presented certain personal 
complaints against him. Except in the case of Smith, these 
referred to the alleged niggardliness of Wingfield in dis- 
pensing the common store, while he lived in plenty himself. 
The charges, so far as they implied wrong on his part, 
Wing^eld stoutly^ denies. Smith said that the president 
charged him with falsehood and twitted him of his humble 
origin. During the hearing Wingfield declared that he 
would appeal to the king, and was detained as a prisoner in 

* Wingfield'8 Discourse, Arch. Am. IV. 8S. 


PART the pinnace till Newport on his second voyage took him back 
y to England. 

OMring to the death of Gosnold, the absence of Newport, 
the removal of Kendall^ and the suspension of Wingfield, the 
number of the council in Virginia was now reduced to three, 
Ratcliffe as president, Smith, and Martin. For some time 
no effort was made to ffil the vacancies. Wingfield was 
tried under two suits for damages, found guilty, and heavily 
fined. "Then Mr. Recorder did very learnedly comfort me, 
flmtTif I had wrong, I might bring my writ of error in 
London; whereat I smiled."^ Further light was soon 
thrown on the functions^f the president, as well as on the 
bitterness of faction, by^he statement that Ratcliffe beat 
James Read, that Smith and Read struck him in iEum.^ 
For this, by a jury, Read was found gmlty and condemned 
to be hanged. But just before he was to be turned off, he 
accused Kendall privately before the president of a mutiny, 
"and so escaped himself.'' Kendall, whos^mutiny seems to 
have taken the form of an attempt to a band on the colony 
and return to England,' was found guilty and shot. In all 
these events Archer doubtless bore a prominent part, as he 
was now apparently the chief authority among the colonists 
on legal and political forms. 

As one member after another of the council was eliminated 
and the power to fill vacancies was left dormant, Smith 
begins to appear in the foreground. To him now came the 
opportunity to show the talent which he thought till this 
time had been unjustly obscured. On the most famous of 
his journeys up the Chickahominy, two of his companions 
were slain. Four weeks elapsed before he was able to 

1 Wingfield'8 Discourse, Arch. Am. IV. 89. 

* Wingfield, though without special confirmation from other sources, states 
that it was common for the president, councillors, and other officers to beat 
men at their pleasure. *' One lyeth sick till death, another walketh lame, 
the third crieth out of all his boanes ; which myseryes they do take upon 
their consciences to come to them by this their almes of beating. Were this 
whipping, lawing, beating and hanging in Virginia knowne in England, I 
fear it would drive many well-affected mynds from this honorable action of 
Virginia." Ibid. 90. 

• Arber, 18, 97. 


return to Jamestown. In the meantime Ratcliffe, on his own CHAI 
responsibility and contrary both to the king^ instructions and 
to the agreement previously reached by the councillors, had 
admitted Archer to the council.^ The new councillor, with 
far more than^Puritan rigor, had Smith indicted for murder 
on the ground that he was responsible for the death of his 
two followers who had been slain by the Indians, and the 
Levitical law required that " he that * killeth a man, he shall 
be put to death." "He had his trial," says Wingfield, "the 
same day of his return, and, I believe, his hanging the same 
or the next day, so speedy is our law there. But it pleased 
God to send Captain Newport unt(^0 the same evening, to 
our iinspeakable comfort ; whose arrival saved Mr. Smith's 
life and mine, because he took me out of the pinnace " (wKere 
because of exposure Wingfield's health was suffering) " and 
gave me leave to lie in the town." Such occurrences as these 
make the reader wonder whether this settlement should be 
regarded as a military camp or a tropical plantation, and of 
what avail in remote Ypginia was the guaranty in the 
charter that subjects dweUing in the colony shoiQd enjoy 
all the rights and immunities which were possessed by those 
living within the realm. Individual property did not as yet "1 
exist at Jamestown, and life was subject to the whim of one I 
or two councillors. C 

Yet Gabriel Arche r, who, though a judge, was calmly 
ignoring the precedents of English criminal law, was at the 
same time talking about calling a " parliament " in the little 
village of Jamestown. Wingfield states tnat, by the arrival 
of Newport, "was prevented a parliament, which the new 
councillor, Mr. Recorder, intended there to summon." We 
may suppose that his innovating zeal was quenched when he 
found the membership of the council suddenly increased and 
himself e xclude d on the ground of irregular appointment.^ 

1 Arch. Am. TV. 83, 93 ; True Relation, in Arber, 22 ; Brown, GenesiB, 

< Both Wingfield and the writers of Smithes Generall Historie state that 
Archer based his charge on the Levitical law, and the passage referred to, 
Ley. xziv. 17-21, is supposed to contain the provision on which the indict- 
ment was based. Arch. Am. IV. 06. 

• Troe BelaUon, Arber, 23. 

TOL. X — ■ 


PART Newport, on his arrival with the first supply, again took his 
J seat as councillor. He brought with him Matthew S crive ner, 



who had received appointment as councillor in England. 
Smith and Wing^^ld were released and took their seats. 
The advice of Wingfield may be supposed to have again 
carried some weight. So long as Newport remained, the 
revival of government according to the charter and instruc- 
tions was assured. 

Newport, on his return to England, took Wingfield and 
Archer with him. Martin returned on the Phoenix. Rat- 
cliffe was left as president, with Smith and Scrivener as the 
only two councillors. ^ After further explorations up the 
James river had been abandoned. Smith made his first 
voyage along the shores of Chesapeake bay. While he was 
absent, if we are to believe the account of Smith's friends, 
Ratcliffe was guilty of wastefulness and extravagance. On 
Smith's return,' in" July, in response, it is said, to a general 
demand, the second president was deposed, and, if we are 
right in our interpretation. Scrivener was made president 
by Smith ^ for the unexpired term. On Smith's return, in 
September, from his second voyage up the Chesapeake, Scriv- 
ener gave way to him, and the hero of Werowocomoco be- 
came px'esident of Virginia. He was not president in the 
original sense, as provided in the charter and instructions, 
} but j^utocrat of the colony. Of opposition on the part of 
-^^ the other two councillors there was practically none. Con- 
ciliar government had again practically disappeared. 

But in less than three weeks it was revived again by the 
arrival of Newport with the second supply. As in the pre- 
vious January, so now, the autocratic power of the president, 
or of the president and one or two councillors, was broken 
by the arrival of additional councillors^ and instructions 
from England. The control of the proprietors 'and crown 
over the remote settlement was thus periodically re asse rted, 
\f while during the intervals between it drifted along under 
exclusively local influences. The arrival of Newport with 
the first supply saved Smith's life; his arrival with the 

1 The Map, Arber, 116, 121 ; Generall Historic, Arber, 420, 433. 

2 Arber, 122. 




second supply curtailed^Smith's power. This, it is believed, CHAP, 
should be borne carefully in mind by those who would ex- 
plain aright the criticisms, in the later writings which go 
under Smith's name, of those who planned and brought the 
second supply. Little or no criticism of Newport's course 
prior to this time appears, while what he now attempted to 
do was in many respects only a continuation of what Smith 
himself had undertaken. The statement in the Generall 
Historic^ that, ** although Smith was President, yet after the 
arrival of the second supply, the Major part of the Councell 
had the authoritie and ruled it as they listed," throws much 
light on what followed. 

Judging from events, one must infer that Newport's sec- 
ond return from the colony had occasioned a forward move- 
ment on the part of the patentees in England. Seventy 
new colonists, among whom were three women, were pro- 
cured ; two councillors, captains Richard Waldo and Peter 
Wynne, were appointed, while Francis West, brother of 
Lord Delaware, now came to the colony fcwTlhS first time.* 
A refiner of metals appears. Eight Hollanders and Poles, 
skilful in the production of naval stores, were sent out to 
instruct the colonists in that form of production. Under 
orders also from England the Powhatan was to be crowned 'p 
by Newport, and the James river explored for some distance 
above the falls. It is stated in Smith's writings that New- 
port had been instructed to find the South Sea, a mine of 
gold, or Raleigh's lost colonists. If the instruction had 
been given in this form, it was certainly somewhat absurd ; 
but still it included two of the objects which from the first 
had been prominently before the minds of the proprietors, 
and in the work of exploration Smith had certainly always 
been willing to share. He had twice taken a considerable 
body of men to explore the shores of the Chesapeake, when 
the demand for their aid in procuring a food supply for the 
colony was as great as it was after Newport's second return. 
But if we are to trust his later compilations, he now op- 
posed such projects, and insisted that all measures which 
did not lead directly to the procuring of a food supply 
1 Arber, 435. > Generall Historie, Arber, 488. 



PART should be avoided. The colony he thought not sufficiently 
^ J far advanced to engage in the production of naval stores. 
He £roperl^ regarded the coronation of the Indian chief as 
an idle show. ^Tt is no doubt true that the presence of 
seventy more mouths to fill in the colony, and that on the 
approach of winter, increased th^ seriousness of the food 
problem. Neither mines, nor western seas, nor lost colonists 
were found, though the march of four days above the falls 
was in itself a commendable achievement. Newport, as a 
matter of course, could take back to England only speci- 
mens of pitch,^ tar, glass, and potash made in the colony, 
and with them a cargo of clapboard and wainscot. The 
results were small, but the policy was certainly not mis- 
taken, even though the Dutchmen did later barter away a 
few firearms to the natives. 

If the document which we possess is a correct copy. Smith 
sent to the royal council by Newport's returning vessel a 
letter ^ the equal of which for rude, frankness and imperious 
self-conceit it would be difficult to find in the whole body of 
American "Correspondence. In reply to alleged criticisms by 
the council of factional strife in the colony and of a project 
of Ratcliffe to divide the country, and to a command that 
they obey Newport and defray the cost of his voyage by the 
return cargo or ^^ remain as banished men," Smith sharply 
criticised almost every phase of the council's policy, an3 In 
effect told them that they knew nothing of the conditions in 
the colony except from the information which he by his 
\ writings and map had conveyed to them. He heavily dis- 
counted the value of Newport's cargo to the colonists, com- 
plained of the amount consumed by his mariners, declared 
that the colony was not prepared to produce naval stores, 
and roundly asserted that he was opposed to obeying New- 
port's instructions, though he was ovefftiled in the matter 
by the council. The implication of this letter is that, if 
knowledge, experience, and practical insight entitle one to 
leadership in an enterprise, Smith, rather than the members 
of the royal council, had the^ig^Ao instruct. With that 
idea in mind, he entreated them, in the oft-quoted passage, 

1 Generall Historie, Arber, 443. > Ibid. 442. 



to send thirty artisans, fishermen, and farmers, rather than a CHAI 
thousand inexperienced and unseasoned men, of whom there ^ 
were far too many at Jamestown. 

This was excellent advice, and, like many other passages 
in Smith's writings, it shows that he was by instinct a good 
colonizer. And yet, though a few months later the publica- 
tions of the company were filled with the same sentiment, it 
is by no means necessary to suppose that the patentees were 
indebted to Smith for the idea. How much weight his rep- 
resentations may have had with them it is quite impossible 
to affirm. The judicious critic, however, will not be inclined 
to overestimate ^ it. 

In the course of the winter of, 1609 the three councillors 
who were left, on Newport's departure, as Smith's associates, 
died. Scrivener and Waldo were drowned in the James 
river, while we are informed only of the fact, and not of the 
circumstances, of Captain Wynne's death.^ Thus Smith was • 
again left as the sole magistrate and overseer in the colony, t 
and so continued till May, 1609. Taking advantage of this 
fact, in a speech to the settlers he told them that laziness 
would no longer be tolerated as in the days when the counclT 
held authOrilyV^^^eeing nowe the authoritie resteth wholly 
in my selfe, you must obay this for a law, that he that will . 
not worke shall not eat, except by sicknesse he be disabled."^ - 
The letters patent should be read to them each week, that 
they might know the president's power extended even to life 
and death; and now that ^Hhere are no more councils to 

^ In speaking of eyents and views which for their authority rest wholly on 
the Map and the Grenerall Historie, which were compiled by Smith or were 
jasoed under his name after he left Virginia, it is necessary to speak h3rpo- 
thetically. The sufficient reason for this is to be found in the partisan tone 
which runs through all those publications. A comparison of them with"t&e 
True Relation and with the other sources which have survived, reveals ex- 
aggerations and a tendency to exalt the merits of Smith, which decidedly 
weaken their authority as historic documents. In most cases it is impossible 
to affirm that their statements are false ; still, so highly colored are many of 
them, that, without further evidence, it is impossible to accept them without 
question. It is fortunate that we are left solely to the guidance of these 
authorities only for a few months of Virginia history. 

* Map, in Arber, 143, 167 ; also mentioned in Grenerall Historie. 

• Ibid. 149, 406. 


PART protect you, nor curb my endeavors," let every offender 
^ "assuredly expect his due punishment." These statements 
would indicate that Smith was ready to imitate the summary 
measures which had nearly cost him his own life, and that 
he" was 'not going to allow the settlers even the benefit of 
jury trial, a right which was granted to them by the royal 
A instructions. But his threatened severity does not seem to 
% have banished indolence or faction from the settlement, for 
later the president, in his famous speech to the drones,^ had 
to declare that every one who gathered not every day as 
much as he himself did, should be banished from the fort 
and sent across the river, there to support himself or starve. 
Notwithstanding these severe orders, it is stated that only 
about one-fourth of tjie settlers were vigorous workers. By 
them the Indian trade was continued and the settlement 
defended against the attacks of the hostile savages who lived 
in its immediate vicinity. Within the space of three months 
three or four lasts of pitch, tar, and potash were made, and 
a trial of glass produced ; also a well was dug in the fort, 
twenty dwellings were built, the church was newly covered, 
a blockhouse was built on the Neck for protection against 
the Indians, and thirty or forty acres of ground were planted. 
The domestic animals in the colony were also rapidly multi- 
plying. But as the supply of grain brought from England 
was eaten by the rats, the settlers had to rely almost wholly 
on the country for supplies. Many were sent down the 
river for oysters and fish, and others, under West, to the 
region of the Falls. Some also were billeted among the sav- 

Iages. Thus under the vigorous rule of Smith, in which he 
himself set the example of activity, the colony survived the 
winter in fair condition. But it was still confined to James- 
town and its immediate vicinity, was not self-supporting or 
beyond the possibility of ultimate failure.* Internal dissen- 
S sions and sloth had not been removed and could not be, so 
^ long as the system of joint management was maintained. 
Friendly relations with the Tndians had not been securely 

1 Arber, 156, 473. 

3 A True and Sincere Declaration. Statements from report of Argall, 
Brown, Genesis, d44. 



established. Government through a council had broken CHAP, 
down, and autocratic administration had proved under the ^ ^ 
circumstances inadequate to meet the needs of the colony. 
What it needed was a larger investment in the enterprise, a 
larger population, with such components as would make the 
formation of homes possible, the multiplication of settle- 
ments in more healthful localities, the development of a free 
tenantry, or better a jeomaogry of freeholders. As the result ^ 
of the reports brought back by Newport on his last voyage, 
steps were being t^en in England which werg^pi^ually to 
mi^e these changes possible. 



PART We know from an authoritative source^ that the decisive 
reason which led the patentees to apply for a new charter 
was the defects which experience revealed in the fornfof 
government created by the charter of 1606. Whether the 
v appointment of the councils by the crown was found to be 
an important source of difficulty, we are not informed ; but 
we are told that in this connection a chief object of desire 
on the part of the patentees was to send out a large supply 
of colonists under " one able and absolute governor." " The 
equality of governors " in the colony, it was further declared, 
and ^^ some outrages and follies committed by them," ^^ had a 
little shaken^iSS tender a body.'^ To the patentees, as to 
all others who were concerned, it was evident that the at- 
tempt to govern the colony through a resident council had 
proved a failure. The opposite syslem was now" to be 
tried. "^ "^ 

A second cause of evil was thought to be the length of the 
outward voyages by the way of the West Indies, and the 
consequent exposure of the passengers to disease and to 
attacks by the Spaniard. As a means of remedying this 
evil Captain Argall was sent out with a single vessel and 
with orders to choose the most direct route. By following 
a course midway between the southern and northern routes 
he reached Virginia in about nine weejig, and, by fishing in 
the waters there, not only relieved the needs of the colonists, 
but revealed anew the resources of the colony, especially in 
stjirgeon. In this way one of the difficulties seemed to be 
solved. Already decisive steps had also been taken which 

1 A Trae and Sincere Declaration, Brown, Genesis, I. 342. 



it was believed would remove the evils of the government. CHAP. 
Closely connected with the reform that was desired lay the ^^ 
need of increasing the scope of the entei-prise. In order to 
accomplish that result the number of patentees must be 
enlarged, and with this the volume of contributions. A 
condition necessary to the securing of this end was the full 
incorporation of the patentees and the express bestowment 
upon them oi the land of the colony and of rights of 

The change was effected through the royal charters of 
1609 and 1612. By the former the process of incorporating ^ 
the LfOndon patentees as a joint stock company, after the X 
manner of some of the older trading companies, was com- 
pleted. The corporate name of " The Treasurer and Com- 
pany of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for 
the First Colony in Virginia," was given to them, and they 
were thenceforth to have a seal. The authority to transport 
emigrants and carry on trade, which had been enjoyed by 
the former patentees, was conferred on these. But in addi- 
tion they received a territory four hundred miles broad and 
extending through the North American continent, with 
power to gr ant the same to adventurers and settlers. The 
new company also received the organization necessary for 
the exercise of such powers. This consisted of a "general 
court'' of all the members, various subordinate courts and 
comfiiittees ; a treasurer and deputy treasurer, with power 
to create other offices ; and a councilt The council was the 
successor of the royal council of 1606, and retained the name 
of"**TJur Council for the said .Company of Adventurers and 
Planters in Virginia." Upon it governmental powers were 
bestowed, and frOm some of the words in the charter of 1609 
one might infer that the king, through this body, intended 
still to retain the government of the colony in his own hands. 
But provision was also made in that charter that vacancies 
in the council should be filled by the company, and by the 
charter of 1612 power was expressly given to the company 
to elect the council. The effect of this was to make it a 
permanent administrative body within the company, wholly 
subject to its control like any other standing commUtee. By 


PART virtue of this change the patentees came to have the power 
>^ J of directl y governin g the colony, though of course, like all 

other corporations, they were subject to the sovereign con- 
^ trol of crown and parliament. 

The London patentees, in the form of an incorporated 
body, now became in the full sense of the term the proprie- 
tor of their colony. The company existed for fifteen ye^ts, 
anT* during that period it continued to perform the duties 
/.- of proprietor; for that length of time the colony on the 
^^ James river was ,a_proprietaryprovince with a com merci^ 
company as^ts overlord. For aDneTllmer i]ui3er the charter 
of 1612 the BermudaTslands were united with Virginia as a 
part of the company's province ; but soon a distinct corpora- 
tion was organized for their government, though its mem- 
bers were drawn very largely from the London company. 

This body was empowered to increase its membership at 
will. This it did by selling shares," oFT)iIl8 of adventure, 
which were transferable and represSnted a contribution to 
the common stock of JC12, 10«. each.^ Adventurers were 
those who invested their money in shares of this value, 
instead of removing to the colony as planters. Planters 
invested their labor, and that of their families and servants, 
and were entitled to shares therefor. It was agreed by the 
company that for the period of seven years after the issue 
of the new patent, that is from 16TOT6 1616, the system of 
corporate management maintained by the former patentees 
should be continued in the colony. There should be no 
' landholding or trading by individuals, but the company 
should, as'formerly, provide all necessities and receive all 
products. In the meantime, such dividends as the business 
would warrant should be declared for the benefit of the 
adventurers, and the planters would be guaranteed their 
support.^ At the end of the seven years the division of the 

1 A blank bill of adventure, entitling the « holder to land in Virginia, is 
printed on page 471 of the Genesis of the United States. Another is printed 
in Va. Mag. of Hist. II. 186. The establishment of the joint stock is described 
in Nova Britannia^ a pamphlet which is supposed to have been written by 
Alderman Robert Johnson, who was deputy treasurer of the company. It 
was issued in 1610. Force, Tracts, L 

2 Brown, First Republic, 104. 


lands in the colony among the adventurers and planters in CHAP 
proportion to their several investments, as indicated on the ^ ^^ 
register of the corporation, should begin. Thus, except the v 
sending of women and children as well as men to the colony, 
no immediate departure Irom the plantation system estab- 
lished under the charter of 1606, was contemplated. The 
colony was to continue for a series of years unchanged, 
though it was hoped that much larger investments would 
be made in it. In other words, as a direct result of the 
charter of 1609, the planter s gained no libertie s, though the 
corporation gained many such. 

Both before and after the issue of the charter of 1609 the 
enterprise was systematically advertised. Letters, broad- 
sides, and pamphlets were issued explaining the plans of the 
managers, and setting forth the prospective wealth and 
attractions of the colony. The Plymouth^ adventurers, 
with the understanding that their efforts for the time were 
at a standstill, were invited to cooperate. It was declared 
that the only type of colonist desired was the husbandman 
or artisan, reared in the P rotest ant faith, and honest in his 
past life. By the labor of these an abundance of commodi- 
ties, like naval stores, would be produced, for the supply 
of which England was now dependent on foreign countries. 
Special appeals were made to the city of London and its 
trading companies, as well as to others. 

The result of these efforts^ was that, when the charter 
passed the great seal, the number of incorporators had been 
so increased as to include 56 city companies of London, and 
6 59 indivi duals. Of the latter 21 were peers, 96 were 
knights, 11 were members of the learned professions, 53 j 

were captains, 58 were gentlemen, 110 were merchants, 282 \ 

were citizens and others not classified. Of these about 230 /^ 
subscribed for three shares or more each («£37, 10«.); 229 
subscribed for less than that number. About 200 seem to 
have paid in nothing. But, as it was, the active adventurers 
represented the nobility, clergy, and mer<!hants, while the^ 
planters were being drawn to a large extent from the lower 
classjSS. A company considerable both in social weight ancl 

1 Brown, Genesis, 23S. > Ibid. 228. 


PART numbers was thus brought together. Sir Thomas Smith, a 
prince among London merchants, an assignee of Raleigh and a 
charter member of several other large companies, was chosen 
treasurer and was reelected to that office for nearly ten years 
in succession. Sir Edwin Sandys, who drafted the charter of 

1609, and was rising to leadership among the o ppositio n in 
the House of Commons, gradually became more influential 
in the management of the company. When, however, 
reverses came, as they not infrequently did, members fell off 
and it became more than usually difficult to collect subscrip- 
tions. In 1611 some returned without license from the 
colony, who spread damaging reports about it, and stringent 
provision for their restraint was introduced into the charter 
of 1612. To such straits also was the company then re- 
duced for funds, that the privilege of holding lotteries was 
granted to it by that charter. It is stated ^ that at times 
during the administration of Sir Thomas Smith it was dif- 
ficult to secure an attendance of twenty at the quarter 
epulis, though, subsequent to 1619, when the office of treas- 
urer was held by Sandys and the Earl of Southampton, two 
hundred were often in attendance. The membership of the 
company during the last four years of its existence is also 
said to have reached one thousand, while we have a list,' 
approaching respectably near that number, of * those who 
joined when Smith was treasurer. At all times within this 
body was a group of varying size — noblemen, merchants, 
officials — who were constant in attendance, spent their 
time and energies for the company and colony, and en- 
joyed the honors and responsibilities which came therefrom. 
Among them were some of the most distinguished men 
in England, and when assembled they formed a dignified 

The records of the company prior to 1619 — the period of 
the administration of Sir Thomas Smith — have been lost or 
destroyed, and a connected account of its proceedings dur- 
ing that time cannot be given. For the period from 1619 
to 1624 — that of the Sandys-Southampton regime — very 

1 Bees, of the Co. IL 160, 168. * Force, Tracts, IIL 


full minates ^ of the general court and of some of the sub- CHAP, 
ordinate courts have been preserved. The Orders and Con- 
stitutions,^ compiled in 1619, are also accessible, and contain 
stalSments of the powers and duties of the officials and com- 
mittees of the company, rules of procedure followed in its 
courts in the granting of land, in trade, and some other 
matters. From the Orders and Constitutions we learn that 
in the company's chest, under the care of the secretary, were 
kept a variety of account books, record and minute books, 
and original papers, all of which, save the minutes just 
referred to, have now been lost. But the reference to these, 
together with the records which have been preserved, reveals 
the fact that this chartered company, at least during the 
later years of its existence, did far more business annually, 
and did it with greater care than any other proprietor, or 
proprietary body —-save tKe^crown — which ever had to do 
with an American colony. But before this can be reviewed 
in greater detail, the changes which took place in the colony 
while Smith was treasurer of the corporation must be noted. « 

The patentees under the charter of 1606 had sent to Vir- 
ginia not far 'from three hu ndred colonists. Of these prob- 
ably less than one Kundred survived till midsummer, 1609.* 
The new company despatched in the spring of that year nine 
vessels, carrying about fi ve hundred planters. With them 
went Sir Thomas Gates, as ^^sole and absolute governor,'' 
accompanied by Sir George Somers as admiral, and Captain 
Newport as vice-admiral.* The instructions to Gates have 
recenHy been discovered, and their fulness and suggestiveness, 
added to the fact that they were the earliest set of instructions 
to a governor which we now possess, justify more than a 
passing reference. Moreover, notwithstanding the disaster 
which overtook Gates, these instructions were put into force, 

^ Extracts from these have been printed in vols. 7 and 8 of the Collections 
of the Virginia Historical Society. 

* Printed in Force, Tracts, HL 

* Brown, First Republic, 71, 97. 

* The instructions to Oates, as well as those to Lord Delaware, are among 
tlie Ashmolean Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. They have 
recently been brought to light by Miss S. M. Kingsbury, and to her I am 
indebted for permission to use them. ^ 


PART the most important among them being given to Lord Dela- 
^ ware for his guidance. They contained in outline the entire 
scheme of policy which was followed by Delaware, Gates, and 
Qale^that by which the fortunes of the colony were guided 
A until the time came for the introduction of individual property. 
We can now clearly see that the policy of the years 1610 to 
1617 was formulated in the councils of the company wliile 
the new charter was being procured and while the company 
was adding to its resources and energies. The instructions 
were issued by his Majesty's council for Virginia. In them 
Gates was told to avoid the old course by way of Dominica, 
c' lest he might fall into the hands of the Spaniard ; but he 
was not instructed to altogether avoid the southern route. 
Provision was made that, when upon his arrival in Virginia 
it became necessary to reorganize the government. Gates 
should select as his councillors Song^ers, — who was to be 
admiral of the province, — Smith , Rat cliffe , and the other 
leading officials who were already in the colony ; they were 
named as councillors in the instructions. But their advice 
should not be binding upon the governor, nor should they 
have the right to negative his decisions. He, on the other 
hand, might suspend any of them from office and report the 
fact to the royal council. Over other officers for whom pro- 
vision had not been made by the royal council, the governor 
was to possess the full power of appointment and removal. 
** Whomsoever you consult of any business of importance wee 
advise you to consider and deliberate all things patiently & 
willingly and to heare every man his oppinion and objeccion, 
but the resultants out of them or your own Determinacon, 
what you intend to Doe, not to imparte to any whatsoever, 
but to such onely as shall execute it, and to them also under 
the sealles of your comaundement and but at the instant of 
their partinge from you for the execucon of your will." 
Thus completely did the authority of a provincial governor . 
differ from that which had originally been held by the presi- 
dent under the previous charter. Another instance of the 
extent of his discretion is furnished by the instruction that, 
in order to prevent false and unfavorable reports concern- 
ing the plantation reaching England, the governor should 


inform himself, so far as possible, as to the substance of all CHAP. 


l etters an d messages which were sent home, and transmit ^ , 

his knowledge to the royal council. 

In the instruction relating to the administration of justice 
the rule was laid down which, as we shall see, was to guide 
the judges throughout the colonies in very much of their 
work. In cases of mutiny and rebellion the governor was 
authorized to proceed by martial law, but " in all matters of 
Civill Justice you shall finde it properest and usefuUest for \ 
your government to proceede rather as a Chancellor than as i 
a Judge, rather uppon the naturall right and equity than 
uppon the niceness and lettre of the lawe, which perplexeth 
in this tender body rather than dispatcheth all Causes ; so 
that a summary and arbitrary way of Justice discreetly 
mingled with those gravities and fourmes of magistracy as 
shall in your discrecon seeme aptest for you and that place, 
will be of most use both for expedicon and for example.** 

Detailed instructions were given to the effect that the 
chief seat of the colony should be removed from Jamestown 
to some pomt above the Falls, a point which an European 
enemy could not easily reach even by land, but one whence 
access could be had to a food supply through the main river 
or its branches. Further exploration and even settlement 
of the region toward Roanoke was urged. The colony 
should be allowed to expand. The cultivation of trade with 
the Indians, yet not so as to seem dependent on them, was 
en forced . Traffic with them must be carefully regulated. 
Great stress was also laid on the necessity of civilizing and 
christianizing them, the council even going so far as to 
rScommeiid the seizure of their medicine men or priests, 
in order that by this means superstitious rites might be 
destroyed. Worship according to the forms of the estab- 
lished church was to be carefully maintained, and constant 
attendance ieit church was to be required of all the colonists. 

Specific regulations were also made as to trade and 
manual labor within the colony, the substance of which will 
appear when we come to speak of the system that was 
enforced by Dale. The plantation system was to be contin- 
ued with great rigor, the colonists working in gangs under 



PART officials as overseers, eating at common tables and living in 
common barracks. So detailed are these mstructions and 
so many points in the later history of colonization are antici- 
pated by them, that one is almost forced to the conclusion 
that Sandys was their author or that he at least had a hand 
in their preparation. 

Unfortunately Gates and his expedition followed the route 
over which Newport had so often sailed by way of the Cana- 
ries and West^ Indies. Not only did a considerable amount 
of sickness among the passengers result from this, but the 
fleet Itself was dispersed by a great storm which it encoun- 
tered off the Bahama Islands. The vessel carrying Gates, 
Somers, and Newport was wrecked on the Bermudas, and 
some nine months passed before its officers and passengers 
reached Jamestown. Seven of the vessels of the fleet, how- 
ever, weathered the storm, and with two hundred colonists 
or more arrived at their destination before the close" of^the 
summer of 1609.^ The supplies which the new arrivals 
might have contributed to the comfort of the colonists had 
been greatly injured by the storm, and much that was fit 
to land was, as usual, wasted. By these events the plans of 
the company were thrown into confusion and the colony was 
plunged anew into distresses which came near terminating 
its existence. 

By the charter provision was made that on the arrival in 
Virginia of the new governor, or other principal officer ap- 
pointed by the council, and notice by him given, all author- 
ity under the president and council which was derived from 
the charter of 1606 should cease. But in this case the gov- 
erppr failed to appear, or any one who was commissionedlo^ 
exercise authority. Those who did come were Smith's 
rivals and enemies. For a time some confusion exisled, 
but it was finally decided^ that Captain Francis West should 
succeed Smith on the close of the latter's term — which 
occurred about the 20th of September. In the meantime, 
however. Smith sent Martin and George Percy with sixty 

1 The pinnace VirffiniOi Captain Davis, master, did not arrive till Octo- 
ber; Arber, 170. 

* Letter of Gabriel Archer, Brown, Genesis, 331. 


people to settle near the mouth of the Nansemond river, CHAP, 
but owing to conflicts with the Indians this enterprise ^ ™* 
finally had to be abandoned. West, with one hundred men, 
was sent about the same time to settle near the Falls. That 
settlement was likewise attacked by the Indians. Smith 
himself went thither,^ and a controversy at once arose be- 
tween him and West and the latter*s company about the 
selection of a site for the settlement. In the midst of this 
Smith returned to Jamestown, and on the way was acciden- 
tally wounded.^ ^But notwithstanding this he was tempted to 
prolong his tenure of office beyond its legal term. He was 
thereupon d eposed by A rcher, Martin, and Ratcliffe, who 
considered themselves entitled to act under their original 
authority as councillors. West, who had been designated 
as Smith's successor, being now at the Falls, Percy* was 
elected to act as president until legal authority under the 
existing charter should arrive. Smith was sent home under 
c harge s on one of the vessels of Gates's fleet, all except two 
ofwEch returned in the fall of 1609. 

When these vessels reached England, the full extent of the 
misfortune which had visited the first effort of the new pat- 
entees became known. It was also seen that the colony was 
left in a precarious condition. Some who had returned with 
the vessels beg^n also to spread evil reports concerning the 
colony and the management of its affairs. This caused dis- 
couragement among the adventurers, and many now ceased 
any longer to support the enterprise. But the group among 
the patentees, whose hearts were wholly in the work, devoted 
themselves all the more to its prosecution. The True and 
Sincere Declaration was issued to show what the situation 
was, how it had come about, and that there was no ground 
for discouragement. In a broadside the appeal was renewed 
for assistance, and for an additional supply of artisans and 
farmers as colonists. Sir Thomas West, Lord Delaware, a 
slow and formal man, selectedTiecause of his ranF, wS& 
appointed governor, and preparations were at once made to 
send him out at the head of a relief expedition. 

1 Map and General! Historie, Arber, 162, 481 ; First Republic, 94. 
s Genesis, 884. 

VOL. I — F 


PART Delaware's commission ^ proceeded from the treasurer and 
^ J company through the council for Virginia. By it he was 

made ^^ governor, commander, and captain general both by 
land and sea over the said colony and all other colonies 
planted or to be planted in Virgfinia." He was to be admiral 
of the fleet which should carry him to Virginia. Within the 
colony and on the passage thither he was authorized to exe- 
cute martial law and to act as judg e in civil and criminal 
cases'^ provided in the charter and instructions from 
the council, or, in defect of such instructions, under ordi- 
nances issued with the advice of the council in the colony. 
He was given full power to app oint and remove^ all officers 
in the colony (including councillors), save those who had 
commissions from the council of the company. These he 
might suspend. He was also empowered to reward merito- 
rious services by increasing bills of adventure for land. 
Full authority over matters of defence was also given him, 
while additional powers and instructions were to be granted 
when necessary. In April, 1610, the new governor, with 
three vessels and about oneliundred and fifty colonists, 
sailed from England, and under the guidance of Captain 
Argall reached the mouth of the James river at the middle 
of June. The appointment of Delaware had been made and 
his expedition sent out under the sup posit ion that Gates and 
^ his associates at the Bermudas had all pe rishe d and^at the 
establishment of government anew in the colony would now 
be necessary. But of their mistake in this particular, as well 
as of the disastrous condition of affairs at Jamestown, they 
were made aware on their arrival. 

It appears that soon after Smith's departure the previous 
fall, Percy, because of illness, surrendered all but nominal 
power into the hands of R atcliffe, Arche r, andMartin. The 
strenuous methods of Smith were at once abandoned, and 
affairs were systematically mi sman aged, a fact which goes 
far to justify Smith's criticisms of these men. As winter 
approached, the natives became more hostile. This was an 
attitude which, with their knowledge of the straits to which 
the colonists were soon reduced, they would naturally assume, 

1 Brown, Genesis, 376. 


but to which they may possibly have been urged by Spanish CHAP, 
influence from the south. ^ At any rate, they forced West to y. j 
abandon his settlement at the Falls. Throughout the winter 
they refused to trade with the English, and so far as possible 
carried on active hostilities a gainst them. In December Rat- 
cliffe, while attempting to trade with them, was lured into an 
ambush and killed. '^ Anarchy and sloth seem to have pre- 
vailed, existing resources were^nbtTusbanded, even the 
domestic animals were killed for food. A period of famine 
and disease began which was almost as destructive as that 
of the summer of 1607. During the winter one ^hundred 
an d fifty , out of a total of little more than two hundred, 
died, among those who perished being Captain Archer. 
Only about sixty were left in the colony.^ The church was 
allowed to decay, and many of the houses, with much of the 
fortifications, were destroyed for fuel. 

At the beginning of June Gate s, ancLthe one hundred and 
fifty c olonists who were with him, arriyedjn craft which they 
had biiilt in the Bermudas. They found ^ the palisades of the 
fort down, the ports open, the gates off their hinges, " the 
Indians as fast killing without as the famine and pestilence 
within." The blockhouse* alone afforded some protection 
to the survivors, yet this could probably not have shielded 
them much longer against the attacks of the Indians. 
Grates was not in a position to render much aid, for he 
brought only such supplies as might be necessary for his 
own colonists during a sea voyage. Indian trade could not 
be relied on, especially at that season and in the midst of an 
Indian war. To fishing they could not resort, because neither 
sufficient seine or nets could be found in the fort. Therefore, 
after repeatedly consulting with the former councillors, and 
finding that there was only food enough in store for sixteen 
days at the rate of two cakes daily for each colonist, it was 

1 Fint Republic, 112, etc. 

* Ibid. 97, 129. 

* The Council in Virginia to the Virginia Gk)mpany, Brown, Genesis, 406 ; 
Strachey, True Repertory, Purchas, Pilgrimes, IV. 1749 ; A True Declara- 
tion of Virginia, Force, III. 

^ This was built in the spring of 1609 on the neck which connected the 
peninsula of Jamestown with the mainland. 


PART resolved to abandon the_ settlement. Some even desired to 
J burn what remained of the town, but this fatal step Gates 
prevented. He caused all the people to be embarked, and 
sent down the river with the purpose of carrying them to 
Newfoundland, whence they might obtain passage to Eng- 

But fortunately De lawa re was already at the mouth of the 
river, and when he learned of the situation was determined 
to save and reestablish the colony. Through Captain 
Edward Brewster, who was sent by Delaware to meet Gates, 
the vessels were ordered to return to Jamestown. , This they 

o did, Delaware himself following a day or two l ater^ ^^Thus 
' the most serious crisis in the history of ^^Qrginia^^ f ar 
more serious in its nature than that which had resulted in 
Lane's return from Roanoke, — was passed, and a repetition 
of the experiment in colonization on the James river was in- 
sured. It was at this Juncture that the system of manage- 
ment which was planned by the patentees under the charter 
of 1609 went really into operation. 

As soon as Lord Delaware landed and the work of cleans- 
ing and repairing theTown had been begun, he announced . 
the names of those whom he had selected to be his council- 
N, lors and to fill the other offices of the colony, and adminis- 
tered to them the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, with 
one of fidelity to the colony. Now for the first time at 
Jamestown appears the elab orate official system of ^ militarv 
type which was insfftuted at SagadaSoc^ t){ tfie six mem- 
bers ^ of the council, one held the special title of lieutenant 
general, another of admiral, and still others that of captain 
of fifty, master of ordnance, vice-admiral. Only one of the 
six bore the title of a civilian ; that one being William 
Strachey, who was secretary Und recorder. The other offi- 
cials of the settlement were almost wholly nailitary in char- 
acter, as one was master of the battery works for steel and 
iron, another was sergeant-major of the fort, and five were 
captains of the companies into which the inhabitants were 

1 Strachey, True Repertory, Purchas, Pilgrimes, IV. 1764. Lord Delaware 
and Sir Ferdinando Gtorges seem to have had somewhat the same ideas 
about the mamtgement of a colony. 



organized for the purpose of defence. Two of the settlers CHAJ 
were clerks of the council and two were clerks of the store. . ™* 
Since it was known that the Spanish government was care- 
fully watching the company, and, as we know, was already 
planning to discoyer the location of its colony, the erection 
of two forte at Hampton, near the mouth of the river, was a 
naCural act of precaution. A stockade or fort had been built 
the previous year ^ at Point Comfo rt. 

The contemporary utterances of the company * show it to 
have been convinced that the f ailure of the experiment 
hitherto had been due, at least in part, to negligence and i 
lack of discipline among the coloniste. It was therefore re- 
solved that there should be no lack of rigor in the future. ^ 
Up to this time the settlement had had no written laws. A -• 
code ® was now prepared for it, the enforcement of which 
was intrusted to Gates, afterwards to Delaware, and later to 
Dale. It was a civil and martial code combined, the former 
part having been compiled by William Strachey, while the 
latter is said to have been borrowed from military regula- 
tions in force in the Netherlands, but greatly extended by 
Dale in 1611.* Though the whole of this body of law was . 
probably never enforced in the colony with rigor and in de- 
tail, yet it was in being there for nine years,* and the governors 
throughout that time can hardly have failed to use it for a 
variety of purposes. No other extant authority reveals so ^ 
clearly the t ype of planta tion which it was the purpose of 
the company and officials to encourage in Virginia. The r^ 
stern and energetic spirit of Governor Dale can be seen in it 

1 The two forts at Hampton, however, had to be abandoned before the 
close of 1610, but Dale occupied them ^gain on his arrival. Brown, First 
Republic, 186, 149, 162. 

* A True Declaration of Virginia, in Forcfe, Tracts, III. ; the commission 
of Lord Delaware ; the Letters of the council in Virginia to the Virginia 
company, Brown, Genesis, 402 ; the speech of Delaware on his landing, as 
reported by Strachey and others. 

* Lawes and Ordeib, Divine, Politique, and Martiall, for the Colony of 
Virginia; Force, Tracts, IIL 

* The part which w« can be reasonably sure that Dale added begins with 
the instructions t>f the marshal, on page 28 of the edition printed by Force. 
Dale may have revised the whole of the martial code. 

* Brown, First Republic, 312. See also pp. 164, 226. 


PART quite as distinctly as elsewhere, and it contains some of his 
* , weightiest utterances. 

According to this code, freedom of action within the 
colony was to be reduced to a1^LU^D[|um. The colony was 
to be regarded and treated as an absolute unit. The tradi- 
tional forces of military discipline, severe penal enactments, 
and stric t religious observance were brought to bear, to 
J repress disorder and direct the productive energfies of the 

^^^^ settlement. In that age it was not strange that, under the 
civil enactments, more than twenty crimes were punishable 
with death, while many small Offences were threatened with 
whipping. But it was also declared that the provisions of 
1 the "martial code might also be applied to these offences, 
martial law in the last instance being supreme. Some of 
r'^ the provisions showed a correct understanding of evils 
^e"^ which had previously existed, as those which prohibited 
unlicensed trading with the Indians, killing of cattle 
or poultry without license, destruction of growing crops, 
embezzlement by the cape-merchant or keeper of the 
store, the practice of extortion by captains or seamen in the 
sale of goods, stealing of the boats or vessels of the colony, 
L escape from the colony without license from the governor. 
But these, like treason, were among the capital offences. 

So also was persistent refusal to attend church. It was 
made the duty of the captain in each plantation, half an 
hour before service on Sundays, to shut the gates and place 
sentinels at them. After service began he shouldsearch all 
the houses and command all to repair to church, alter which 
^ he should accompany his guards thither with their arms and 
lay the keys before the governor. Characteristic emphasis 
throughout the code was laid both on obedience to civil 
authority and on external religious observances. Under the 
first charter Anglican worship had been regularly celebrated 
in the settlement, the patentees having sent over a worthy 
clergyman with the first colonists. Others accompanied or 
soon followed Delaware. Mention is prominently made of 
the care shown by the governor in the repair of the chapel. 
The code required that grayers should be read there twice 
every day, that there should be preaching every Wednesday 


and twice on Sunday, with catechising, and that all these CHAP, 
services should be attended by every settler on threat of ^ * , 
heavy punishment for disobedience. Every Sunday the 
Lord Governor attended church in state, " accompanied with 
all the councillors, captains, other officers, and all the gentle- 
men, and with a guard of fifty halberdiers in his Lordship's 
livery, fair red cloaks, on each side and behind him. The 
Lord Governor sat in the choir, in a green velvet chair, with 
a velvet cushion before him on which he knelt, and the 
council, captains, and officers sat on each side of him, each 
in their place ; and when the Lord Governor returned home, 
he was waited on in the same manner to his house." A 
mental comparison of the picture presented by these colo- 
nists on their way to church with the description given 
by De Rasieres a decade later of the procession he saw A 
on a Sabbath morning at Plymouth will be found sug- 

The instructions of Dale show it to have been the inten- 
tion to order all of the colonists according to 
milita iy routine. The governor at Jamestown, as well as 
at each outlying plantation, was to perform the double duty 
of military commander and overseer. The same was true of 
all the officers under him, and they all bore military titles. 
The ordinary colonist was plainly told that he was both 
soldi er and husban dman, and the rigid discipline of the 
former calling was to dominate the latter. A strict watch 
and system of training was to be maintained, and at 
appointed times the soldier was to lay down his gun in 
order to take up the spade or other tool. The day ^ was so 
divided that the hours of labor in the morning continued 
from six to ten o'clock, and in the afternoon from two until 
four. These periods began and closed with the beat of drum, 
and at their close all the settlers were marched to the church 
to hear prayers. Under the supervision of officers all tools 

1 Arber, 602. In the Lawes Divine and Martiall, 46, the hours are given 
somewhat difFerently. The way in which the details of the code were de- 
parted from, while its spirit and the general force of its provisions were 
retained, is illustrated by a svies of ordinances issued by Governor Argall 
in 1618. Brown, First Bepubllc, 278. 



PART were taken day by day for use from the storehouse and 
returned thither again. To the mind of Dale, who in his 
energy and enthusiasm for colonization as state-building 
resembled John Smith, the duties of the colonist and of the 
soldier were but different aspects of the same function; 
" which compriseth and involveth here as well all the indus- 
trious knowledges and practices of the husbandman and of 
his spade, as of the soldier and of his sword." To train 
husbandmen in Virginia who should have the regularity 
and persistence of soldiers was the aim of the managers of 
the system. Smith and Dale worked in much the same 
lines. But, for the reason stated by Ralph Hamor,^ the 
ideal was unattainable : " When our people were fed out 
of the common store, and labored jointly together, glad was 
he who could slip from his labor, or slumber over his task he 
cared not how, nay, the most honest among them would 
hardly take so much true pains in a week, as now they 
themselves will do in a day : neither cared they for the 
increase, presuming that howsoever the harvest prospered, 
the general store must maintain them. ..." 

The imperative need of food in the colony on the arrival 
of Delaware was met by fishing and by special expeditions 
m search of supplies. Argall, who started for the Bermudas 
with Somers for the purpose, was driven northward, and off 
the coast of northern Virginia procured a cargo of fish with 
which he returned to Jamestown. To this source of supply 
resort was annually made theTeafter. During the following 
years Argall engaged to a considerable extent in Indian 
trade, and in exploration connected therewith. While on 
one of these expeditions in the region of the Potomac in 
1613 he captured Pocahontas, and by skilful use of this 
advantage was able to procure peace, with return of captives 
and booty, from the Powhatan. By two voyages, in addi- 
tion to the capture of the Indian maiden, Argall is said 
to have procured several hundred bushels of com.* Some- 
what later Dale concluded peace with the Chickahominies, 
and thus the resources of the natives were again opened to 
the English. The analogy between the work of Argall at 

1 Arber, 616. > Ibid. 612, 686w 



this juncture, and that of John Smith at an earlier date, is CHAP 
perfectly clear. Both, in the capacity of successful I ndian 
t rade rs, helped to make the colony self-supporting. 

^Throughout the years of which we are speaking sickness 
prevailed, much as it had done prior to 1610. During the 
first two years of its existence, the company sent a consider- 
able number of emigrants to Virginia. Delaware brought 
150 ; ^ Dale and Gates, in 1611, about 600. Not so many 
were sent thereafter. The usual proportion of these new- 
comers fell sick and died. During the summer and fall after 
Delaware's arrival about 150 died^. The governor himself 
suffered so much from the climate that he was forced to 
leave the colony the following spring. In the spring of 1612 
Dale writes that, of the 800 whom he brought the previous 
year, not 60 were able to work ; but the incapacity of many 
of these he attributes to their " crazed bodies." Only planters 
who had survived in the colony for two or three summers 
could be relied on. So great was the mortality that, in 
April, 1616, out of a total of more than 1000 who were in 
the colony in July, 1610, or had landed there since that date, 
only 351 sui-vived. The loss to the adventurers, as well as 
to the planters, indicated by these figures, was very great. 
After 1616 we hear at times of great mortality, but grad- 
ually the proportion of acclimated colonists increased; 
women were brought over, and native births filled more and 
more the gaps made by disease. The Indian massacre of 
1622 proved as destructive to the labor power of the colony 
as some of the earlier visitations of fever. But gradually, 
and by the process indicated, the colony became adjusted 
to its physical environment and reached a firm basis of 
health. This, as much as anything else, liberated it from 
its dependence on "supplies," and enabled it to be a colony 
instead of a mere plantation. 

An essential condition of the growth of Virgfinia, as of 
every other social body, was its own internal expansion. 
Partly because Governor Dale's ideal was what it has been 
described to be, expansion in permanent and effective form 
began with him. More or less ineffective attempts had been 

1 See figures in Brown, First Republic, 129, 149, 166, 171 et seq. 


PART made before his arrival to found a settlement at the Falls 
^ ^' J and military posts near the mouth of the river. As soon as 
Dale appeared in the capacity of deputy governor, and in 
consequence of his determination that the colony should be 
made self-supporting by the increase of the cultivation of 
corn and other forms of husbandry, the country^ was ex- 
plored for the purpose of discovering an available site for a 
new settlement. The spot selected was the modern Farrar's 
island and the neighboring region, about forty miles above 
Jamestown. The site was chosen because of its fertility, 
the amount of open ground available, and the ease with 
which, because of the bends on the river, a considerable area 
could be surrounded with palings. There, on what was 
then a narrow peninsula on the north bank of the river, the 
town of '^Henricb was founded. This was done by enclosing 
seven acres of ground with a stockade protected by watch- 
towers, and building within this a storehouse, church, and 
three rows of houses for himself and men. TTie houses were 
built partly of brick made on the spot.^ A building was 
also especially set apart as a hospital for the sick or wounded. 
Across the neck of the peninsula, and again two miles 
farther inland, palings were built by means of which a large 
area of cleared land was secured and laid off into fields for 
corn. Within this tract, it was claimed, enough grain could 
be produced to support the existing population of Virginia 
and all who were likely to arrive for three years to come. 
Certain Indian lands between the Appomattox and James 
/ rivers, and a short distance below Hennco, were seized and 
impaled, additional corn land thus being secured. On the 
south side of the river a range for hogs was also enclosed 
and made defensible. Still another tract between Farrar's 
island and the Appomattox was made into an enclosure for 
the domestic cattle, larger numbers of which were now being 
brought into the colony in vessels specially adapted for the 
purpose. Provision was made for the dei^^ce of each of 
the enclosures, and colonists were established within them. 

1 Bruce, Economic History of Virginia, 208. 

< In this task Dale had the aid of from 800 to 860 men. Brown, Fint 
Republic, 156. 


Thus a group of settlements was founded, less exposed to CHAP, 
foreign attack and more healthfully located than Jamestown. ^ ^^ 
These Dale intended to make the centre of the colony. 
Governor Gates, however, when in the colony, continued to 
reside at Jamestown and cared for its improvement. This 
insured its continuance as at least the centre of government, 
though by 1616 the upper settlements contained more than 
half of the inhabitants of the colony.^ 

While Dale was founding Henrico and its neighboring 
settlements, the period during which the common stock was 
to be maintained a pproache d J^_ close. But he did not wait 
for that time to come before taking the initial step toward 
the introduction of private holdings. Soon after Dale's 
arrival, perhaps in response to a petition already pre- 
sented to Gates, he consulted the council respecting the 
advisability of allotting to e §ch man a *^ private garden. *V jt 
Later, probably in 1614,a considerable number of allotments 
were made of t hree acre s each, to be held under lease. Those 
who received them were called farmers, and paid an annual 
rent into the common store of two and one-half barrels of 
com for each male worker. They were exempted from all 
labor for the community, save during one month in the year, 
and that not in seed-time or harvest.^ 

As a result of this change, when in 1616 John Rolfe wrote 
his Relation^ the planters consisted of officers, laborers, and ^ 
fa rmer s. The officers had supervision over each of the ) 
other classes, in the sense that they cared for their protection 
from enemies, and saw that they performed the daily tasks 
to which they were bound. They also labored for their own 
support. The class of laborers included the agricultural 
servants and many, at least, of the artisans. The servants 
worked in the " common garden," that is for the company, 
eleven months in the year, all the results of their labor for 
that time going into the general store. The remaining 
month wa s their own. The artisans also tilled the ground 
for a part of their support. In Bermuda Hundred lived a 
group of servants who, probably in response to a petition of 

1 Rolfe's Relation, Yirginia Historical Register, L 109, 110. 
* Hamor, Arber^s edition of Smith, 616. 



PART their own, were allowed for their own use, in addition to one 
\j month annually, one day in eachJ5^g^ from the first of May 
until harvest. The farmers were the tenants created by Dale, 
who lived under the comparatively easy terms described above.^ 
In order further to encourage the development of tenant 
right, and the cultivation of commodities which were useful 
as food. Dale assured to every man with a family who came 
into the colony a^hquse with four rooms, which he was per- 
mitted to occupy for at least a year without the payment of 
rent. Twelve acres fenced and adjacent to the house were 
assigned for cultivation. With this went tools, live stock, 
and provisions adequate to the support of the family during 
a twelvemonth. After that time the newcomer was expected 
to maintain himself. 

When Dale finally returned to England in 1616, six settle- 
ments had been founded along the lower and middle course 
of the James river: Henrico, Bermuda Hundred, and West 
and Sherley Hundred, all in the vicinity of Farrar's island ; 
Jamestown, and Kicoughtan, the latter near the mouth of the 
river ; Dale's Gift, near Cape Charles, the extremity of Ac- 
comac peninsula. In the entire colony was a population of 
only 381, including women and children. Of these about 200 
were in the upper settlements founded by Dale, while the rest 
were distributed between Jamestown and the two lower set- 
tlements. The officers and laborers together numbered 205, 
and the farmers 81. Though the number was small, it 
consisted of those who had become acclimated and hence 
fitted to be the nucleus of a permanent colony. Though 
no plough was yet in use, the colonists possessed a large 
supply of goats, hogs, and poultry, 6 horses, and 144 domes- 
tic cattle. At Dale's Gift salt was made and fishing carried 
on. The production of tobacco had already. Ji^^suQ, and thus 
Virginia was soon to possess a staple which she could export 
in large quantities. The price of tobacco at that time ranged 
very high, and under its influence the amount raised and sent 
to England rapidly increased. But special care was taken, 
now as always, to encourage the raising of articles of food 
ample in amount to support the inhabitants of the colony. 
1 Rolfe, Relation, Va. Hist Reg. L 107 ; Brace, 214, 217. 


When Governor Dale returned to England in 1616, the CHAP, 
time for the expiration of the system of joint management ^^ 
as applied to land had nearly arrived. Early in that year 
the company had made preparations for the first division, 
which should include the land adjacent to the existing 
settlements in Virginia.^ In 1617, while George Yeardley, 
who had cooperated with Dale in the founding of his set- 
tlements at and near Henrico, was deputy governor, the 
laborers who three years before had oeen granted special 
privileges at Bermuda Hundred were, it is supposed, made 
farmers or free rent-paying tenants.^ Not far from the 
same time a few grants of land in fee simple were made to 
other colonists. 

But Yeardley was soon superseded by Samuel Argall, who 
now returned to Virginia as deputy goyemor and as the 
protege of Sir Robert Rich, afterwards Earl of Warwick.^ 
During the two years of his administration, 1617-1619, no 
private grants were made. By this it is not meant that the 
company's land was cultivated with diligence, or the com- 
mercial system utilized for the benefit of adventurers and 
planters. Instead, both the lands and trade of the company 
were recklessly exploited for the benefit of the governor and 
his f riencts i ine "ancient colony ~men,^ who were entitled 
to their freedom, and the laborers from the common garden, 
were kept at work as the governor directed, and largely for 
his personal advantage. The stores of grain accumulated 
from the rents at Charles City, as well as the public cattle, 
were appropriated for his use. A stock of hides belonging 
to the company and estimated to be worth <£400 he withheld 
from sale, and thus caused it considerable loss. At the same 
time he allowed ship captains and private traders to export 
the sassafras and tobacco produced in the colony, thus 
bringing the operations of the magazine almost to a stand- 
still. The Indian trade he was also charged with appro- 
priating to himself . 

Sir Edwin Sandys described the effects of Argall's ad- 

^ Brown, Genesis, 777 ; A Brief Declaration. 

3 Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1574-1660, 68 ; Brace, 221. 

* Bees, of Va. Co. L 22, 80 ; IL 29-46, 196, 200 et »eq. 



PART ministration of the company's garden as follows : " The 
^' , Deputy Governor, on his arrival at that place, which 
was in or about May 1617, hath left and delivered to him 
by his predecessor a portion of public land called the 
Company's garden, which yielded unto them in one year 
about <£300 profit. Fifty-four servants employed in that 
same garden and in salt-works set up for the service of the 
colony ; tenants, eighty-one yielded a yearly rent-corn 
and services, which rent-corn, together with the tribute- 
corn from the barbarians, amounted to above twelve hun- 
dred of our bushels by the year ; kine, eighty ; goats, 
eighty-eight. About two years after — viz., Easter, 1619 — 
at the coming away of the said Deputy Governor, his whole 
estate of the public was gone and consumed, there being not 
left at that time to the Company either the land aforesaid or 
any tenant, servant, rent or tribute corn, cow or salt-work, 
and but six goats only, without one penny yielded to the 
Company for their so great loss in way of account or restitu- 
tion to this very day." 1 

When Captain Edward Brewster ventured * to withdraw 
some of Lord Delaware's tenants and servants from the work 
to which the governor had set them, Argall, taking advan- 
tage of the martial code, had him tried and condemned to 
death. But on the application of the members of the court 
and of the clergymen who were present, Brewster was 
allowed to return to England on condition that he would 
never revisit the colony, or^say anything to its disparage- 
ment or that of Governor Argall. 

As soon as the company was informed of the extent to 
which Argall waa violating its instructions and plundering 
the colony. Lord Delaware, who was on the way to assume 
the duties of his office in person, was ordered to send.Argall 
home, and to seize what of his plunder he could.^ But the 
governor died on the outward voyage. Sir George Yeardley 
was then appointed governor and instructed to proceed 
against Argall. But the latter was brought away from 
Virginia in one of Sir Robert Rich's vessels, and after some 
delay returned to England. There he found that Brewster 

1 Recs. of Va. Co. L 66. « Ibid, IL 41. • IhH, II. 35. 


had appealed to the company against him.^ Based on this CHAP, 
and other information, charges against him were formulated Jj^ 
by the company, to some of which he attempted to reply. 
By a quarter court his proceedings against Brewster were 
pronounced unjust and illegal. But on the other points no 
definite result was ever reached. It is not improbable that 
this was due to the influence of Warwick. The case of 
Argall helped to arouse bitter feelings within the company, 
but itself was partially obscured by the larger controversies 
to the origin of which it contributed. The significance of 
his administration appears in the fact that it delayed the^ v^ 
process of economic transition in the colony iGtTtWo years. 

^ Bec8. of Va. Co. I. S. 




PART The Argall incident contributed toward an important 
^ change in the administration of the company. It strength- 
ened the resolve of Lord Rich to remove the merchants — 
Smith, Johnson, and their friends — from its control. This for 
the time was favorable to the prospectTbf Sir Edwin Sandy s, 
who by his ability had risen to be the leader among those 
in the company who favored a liberal policy toward the 
plantation. With him were associated the Earl of South- 
ampton, Lord Cavendish, who was also at the head of the 
Somers Islands company, John and Nicholas Ferrar, and 
many other prominent and able men. Sandys and~Iiis asso- 
ciates were also closely ide ntifie d with the so-called ^^ count ry 
party," the opposition in parliament. There they worEed 
agaihst the corrupt policy of favorites, undue Spanish 
influence, mono£olies and impositions, and strove to counter- 
balance in all ways the large power of the crown. This fact 
brought them into opposition to Sir Thomas Smith and 
Alderman Johnson, who at this time identified themselves to 
an extent at least with the court. Sir Thomas Smith, who 
was already well advanced in years, accepted the office of 
a commissioner of the navy. He had already served for ten 
years in succession as treasurer of the London company. 
These facts, together with his many other interests, caused 
him to decline reelection for the year 1619, and to desire 
that his accounts might be audited and fully adjusted before 
he died. His wish was gratified by the company, the friends 
of Rich and Sandys cooperating toward the result. Sandys 
was elected treasurer, with John Ferrar as deputy in the 
place of Alderman Johnson. The auditors were set to work 



on Smith's accounts, but they found them so defective and CHAP, 
intricate^ as to make it impossible to disentangle them. As 
late as 1628 Smith was urging their settlement, but it was 
then declared to be an impossibility, and no proof is extant 
that they ever were cleared up. Though apparently the 
transfer of control from Smith to Sandys was made with 
ease, it laid the foundation for prolonged strife. The atti- 
tude of Sandys toward Argall, combined, it is probable, with 
many other causes, soon broke the temporary union with the 
Rich or Warwick faction, and formed a natural alliance ^ of 
the latter with Smith and Johnson. As time passed their 
union with the court became more intimate, and all impor- 
tant measures of the company came to be affected not only 
by the struggle between these factions, but by English poli- 
tics as welL The complications, however, to which this led 
belong to another division of the subject. It remains at 
this point to trace the p olicy of the Sa ndys-Sou t hampto n 
party in so far as it immediately affected the colony. 

In general it may be said that it involved no radical de- 
parture from that followed by the company during the later 
years of Dale's administration and after the recall of Argall. 
It emphasized the best tendencies of that policy, expanding 
and improving upon it in various ways, and introducing 
more vigor and system than apparently had characterized 
the earlier methods of the company. The records show that 
Sir Edwin S andy s was an almost ideal administrator , and . 
not a little of his wisdom appelirs in tEe^fact that he^ully ^ 
recognized the merit of Gates and Dale.^ Sandys at the 
outset devoted himself to the task of reclaiming ^^ the pub- 
He" or company's land from the exhausted condition in 
which Argall had left it. This he considered the root or *^ 
body of the tree, and private plantations the branches.^ In ^ 
pursuing his object he sought in all directions for tenants 
with whom to people it. He advertised for laborers and 

1 Recs. of Va. Co. n. 84, 220. 

* Brown, First Republic, 366, 622 ; Ndll, History of the Virginia Com- 
pany, 120. 

» Recs. of Va, Co. L 21. 
« Ibid, 20 tt seg., 64 tt seq. 

VOL. I — o 


PART artisans. He applied to the mayor of London for one hun- 
dred apprentices, twelve years of age and over. The king 
threw his plans into some confusion by insisting that he 
should find homes in Virginia for an hundred dissolute per- 
sons from the capital. After considerable delay and negoti- 
ation provision was made for a part or all of them. Domestic 
cattle and supplies of all kinds were bought and shipped. 
The settlement of private plantations^ as well as the improve- 
ment of the public land, was also encouraged. During 1619 
the company sent out eight ships, ranging &om seventy tons 
burden to one thousand tons, and carrying 871 colonists. 
Three himdred were sent the same year by private adven- 
turers. Though about three hundred died that year in 
Virginia, the energy of the company far more than made 
good this loss. Of those sent to the colony the great 
majority were servants, lists of whose names, with the con- 
tracts into which they entered with their masters, were kept 
by the company. They received free transportation to Vir- 
ginia, were furnished with food for one year, also with 
apparel, cattle, tools, and weapons. The tenants on the pub- 
lic lands were expected to return to the company one-half 
of their annual product, and to remain in its employment 
for seven years. After that time the tenant could renew 
the contract, or receive an estate in fee simple as a dividend. 
In connection also witF the encouragement of emigration 
a strong effort was made to diversify the industry of Vir- 
ginia. Of those who were sent out in 1619, one hundred and 
fifty were ordered to devote themselves to the production of 
iron, others were instructed to build saw-mills, " divers skil- 
ful vigneroons" were sent to develop and cultivate vine- 
yards; directions were given for the sowing of hemp and 
flax and for the cultivation of the silk-grass of the regfion, 
which made good cordage ; the production of silk was also 
encouraged, while the Poles already in the colony were sent 
back to the work of making pitch and tar, potash and soap 
ashes. The production of grain was everywhere encouraged. 
This policy was continued as long as the company existed, 
and the prosecution of it was the chief task of the treasurer 
and his associates. They continued to be managers of a 


productive enterprise. Virginia was still the company's CHAP, 
plantation, and, in spite of all that could be done, the returns ^* 
from it came chiefly in the form c^tpbacco. 

But the introduction of freeJjentup^cy.aAd the development 
of private plantations in addition to the company's land was 
all the time changing the nature of the colony and pre- 
paring the way for its transition from the plantation to the 
provincial type. This change had begun with Dale, and was 
continued under Yeardley in 1619. Yeardley's instructions 
mark an epoch in the history of the transition. As Dale 
acted under the authority of Sir Thomas Smith and his 
associates, and since Teardley's instructions were prepared 
before Sn^ith and Johnson left office, due credit should be 
given to them for a share in the work. The system of joint 
management of land and trade was never intended to be more 
than temporary, an arrangement devised to meet the needs \ i 
of the colony in its earliest stage, and when the conditions ^ • 
were ripe for its abandonment. Sir Thomas Smith put no 
obstacles in the way. It was by virtue of instructions given 
to Yeardley not long before Smith left office, that the system 
of r eserv es from the unoccupied domain for various public 
purposes was instituted.^ One thousand acres were reserved ^ 
for the maintenance of the ministers of the gospel, three \ 

thousand for the support of the governor, ten thousand for 
the endowment of a college, twelve thousand for the use 
of the company itself. The first three reserves were located 
on the north side of the river, between Henrico and the Falls, 
while the company's reserve was divided into four apportion- 
ments of three thousand acres each, one of which was located 
near each of the four settlements along the river. As other 
offices were created by the company, additional reserves were 
made for them. It was for the peopling and improvement 
of these reserves that Sandys and his successors labored. 

The res erve for th ejeoUfige^was, for example, a prominent 
object of Sandys' care. One of his first acts after assuming 
office^ was to procure an order from the company for the 
expenditure of some £1500 for the settling and improve- 

1 Va. Mag. of Hist. n. 154 et seq.; Recs. of Va. Co. L 22. 
* Beo8. of Va. Co. I. 6 et seq. 


PART ment of this land. His plan was to send fifty tenants to it, 
who should be entitled to one-half the pro^iiot_of their labor, 
while the other half should go for the maintenance of tutors 

^ and scholars. Among the tenants should be a number of 
artisans. A ship should be hired by the company partly for 
their transportation, which, on its return voyage, for a freight 
of four pence per pound, would bring back all the company's 
tobacco. A special committee was appointed to take charge 
of this business, while, pursuant to orders from the king, 
application was made to the bishop to have collections taken 
in the dioceses of the kingdom for the support of the col- 
lege.^ Some gfifts were received for this purpose. Later,^ 
George Thorpe was appointed superintendent of the college 

Another form of grant which appeared at this time and 
played an important part in the development of Virginia till 
after the dissolution of the company* wa s the sub-p atent 
i ssued to privat e societies. The earliest of these were issued 
in 1618, when several gentlemen of the company in order to 
strengthen the colony united into societies and offered to 
establish plantations at their own cost. By combining their 
shares, or purchasing additional ones, the associations thus 
formed entitled themselves to very larg^ grants of jBnd in 
Virginia, and to a corresponding increase of those on later 
divisions. It was the intention of the company that the 
grantees should s ettle and improve the tracts in person, or 
sendttoants and servants for the purpose. In some cases, 
but not in all, this was done. As the policy tended to 
absorb rapidly the available land and also to destroy the 
unity of the province, it was viewed with some distrust by 
the company. The first private plantation thus granted was 
Southampton or Smith's Hundred, consisting of two hundred 

I thousand acres, and located near the mouth of the Chicka- 
hominy river. Within this some three hundred tenants were 
settled. Shortly after other grants were made to'^'Argall 
and his associates," ^' Hamor and his associates," ^^ Martin 

1 Ibid. 12, 29. 

* Ibid. 54, 68. 

* Ibid. 64 ; Brown, Pint Republic, 266. 


\ and his associates." Of these the last, known as Martin's CHAP. 
Plantation or Hundred, and the only one of the three to be ^' 
developed, was situated at Martin's Brandon, on the south 
side of the James river. The grantee was Captain John 
Martin, who had been connected with the fortunes of the 
colony from the outset. The grant contained eighty thou- 
sand acres. In 1619, through Sir John Wolstenholme, appli- 
cation was made to the company^ that Martin's Hundred, in 
consideration of losses which it had recently sustained, might 
receive a share of land in Virginia for every £12, 10s. which it 
had spent. This, it was said, would encourage the association 
to send out fifty more men. But for various reasons Sandys 
opposed the request, and no record appears of its being 

Before the close of 1619 we learn of the existence of Cap- 
tain Lawne's jplantation and Captain Warde's plantation.^ 
In 1620 four additional patents were granted to similar asso- 
ciations,^ among them being one to Captain John Bargrave, 
one to Captain John Ward, and one to John Berkeley 
Esq., and their associates. Entries of other, though in most 
cases smaller, grants appear at intervals thereafter^ till the 
close of the company's existence. 

The gprantees were permitted, till the government of the 
colony should be systematized, to issue orders for the regu- 
lation of their servants and business, provided they were not 
repugnant to the laws of England.^ Care was, however, 
exercised lest members should be added to the societies 
without the consent of the company, and lest the managers 
of the private plantations should run a too independent 
course in trade or promote faction in the colony.® They 
occupied a position within the colony analogous to that of 
manors, and bore a similar relation to the developmenTof its^ 
locaTilistitutions. When the first assembly met, John Martin 

1 RecM. of Va. Co. L 13. 

* NeUl, The Virginia Company, 140 ; Brown, Firat Republic, 291. 
» Recs. of Va. Co. L 62. 
« Ibid. I. 162 ; IL 212, 226. 
» Ibid. L 39. 

* Teardley's Instractions, Va. Mag. of Hist IL 160 ; Brown, First Repub- 
lic, 268, 267. 




PART claimed all the privileges of a manorial lord in England, but 
lie^l^Wforced to submit to the general regulations of the 
company. In 1622, on the occasion of his petitioning with 
others for concessions in the so-called " king's forest," he was 
sharply reproved by the company ^ for having made his terri- 
tory a receptacle for bankrupts, vagabonds, and other dis- 
orderly persons who, with other enormities, had occasioned 
public complaint. Testimony to this effect, and to the 
effect that Martin had resisted the officers of the colony, 
was received at the time. Two months later Martin peti- 
tioned again that his patent might be amended and those 
provisions removed which were injurious to the colony or 
which transcended the powers that should be conveyed by 
such a grant. He was advised to surrender his patent and 
take out a new one. This he at first refused to do, but later 
consented and delivered it up in open court to be cancelled. 
Order was then given that a new one should be made out 
before the next quarter court, and it was duly issued.* This 
was in accordance with a regulation upon which the com- 
pany had always acted, and which had recently been reduced 
to writing,® that none but the company in quarter court 
could grant land, the functions of the governor in the prem- 
ises being wholly ministerial. The grantee or chief officer 
of a private plantation or hundred was known as its com- 
mander, and these grants appear to have had a semi-military 
orgSlnization. This they seem to have retained till about 
the time of the dissolution of the company. During that 
time, as the result of settlement, they became not merely 
grants, but localities or local units. In consequence of that, 
soon"* after Virginia became a royal province, they were 
merged on the one side among the large estates and on the 
other among the institutions of local government which were 
slowly unfolding in Virginia. 

The issue of patents for large private plantations, or 
manors, was only one step in the transition from the joint 
stocE' system, as applied 1» land, to individual ownership. 
Another and more important one was tEe successive^ divi*^ 

1 Recs. of Va. Co. I. 187,.n. 14. 
a Ibid. n. 262. » Ibid. H. 6. 


sions of the u noccupied land of the prpvince among the CHAP, 
settlers and adventurers. The former had contributed by . ^' 
their persons, the latter by their purses, and with the begin- 
ning of Yeardley's term as governor they began to receive 
their dividends in the form of land. The regulation of the 
company provided that, for each share of £12, 10«., or its 
equivalent, one hundred a>cres of land should be granted on 
the first division. On the. second division a tract of egual^ 
size should be bestowed, provided the first glfknt had been 
sufficiently peopled. The system of (he ad r ights) was also nj 
introduced, by virtue of which for every person who, before 
midsummer, 1625, should be transported into the colony and 
remain there three years, the planter or adventurer at whose 
expense he came should receive fifty acres on the first divi- 
sion and fifty more on the second division. The system of 
head rights played a prominent part in the settlement of 
Virginia, and of the other provinces as well, for generations 
to come, and by it the supply of the colonies with a due pro- . 
portion of servants was insured. As an additional in duce - 
ment to private settlers it was ordered that those who 
received their bills of adventure before midsummer, 1625, 
should be free from the payment of quitrents. Those issued 
later than this date were subject to t&at obligation. As the 
result of successive divisions and the multiplication of pri- 
vate grants, large and small, the unoccupied land of the 
province gradually became the property of individual free- 
holders. Those who possessed the smaller estates worked 
them themselves with the aid of a few laboreT5--or servants. 
The larger grantees employed many servants, — or later, 
slaves, — and in some cases leased their estates partly or 
wholly to tenants.^ 

So long as the company continued to exist, its reserves 
and those of its officials and beneficiaries, with their troops 
of servants and tenants, constituted an important feature of 
the land system of the province. But the Indian massacre of 
1622 blasted the project for a college, while on the dissolu- 
tion of the company its lands were divided and became 
absorbed into the^ener^land aysteip of the province. By 

1 Bruce, 412 et seq. 


PART that time also the province had reached a permanent, self- 
^ ^ sa pportii^g h<mift- It was no longer dependent on "supplies^ 
in the earlier and technical sense of the word. General 
indolence, of which John Smith and Dale complained, 
disappeared with the advent of the system of individual 
estates. The province also outgrew unusual visitations of 
disease and famine. The development of energy which 
accompanies competition, applied mainly in this instance to 
the production of tobacco, furnished the inhabitants of the 
province with such European goods as they needed. The 
necessary agricultural products they themselves raised or in 
later times imported from neighboring colonies. Viewed 
from the institutional standpoint, the significant fact is that 
the province had now come to possess, so far as the white s 
were concerned, a system of tolerably free labor, and on this 
system of freeholders and free tenants ttie political structure 
of Virginia was erected. 

But the disappearance of the system of joint land owner- 
ship was not followed by the immediate abandonment of 
common trade,^ though a change was made in its manage- 
menlbT^ Until the time of which we are speaking, the busi- 
ness of furnishing supplies for the colony and marketing its 
products had been carried on at a heavy loss. Since the 
company had controlled the magazine, this loss had fallen 
upon the entire body of stockholders. Owing to the ex- 
haustion of funds thus produced, in 1616 a private associa- 
tion was formed among the adventurers for the purpose of 
carrying on this trade. It was known as the Society of 
Particular Adventurers for Traffic with the People of Vir- 
ginia in Joint Stock. Through this the business of the 
magazine was managed until '1620. Subscribers to it held 
separate meetings, while its affairs were regularly adminis- 
tered by a director and committee of five councillors. Its 
accounts were passed upon by the auditors of the company. 
The cape-merchant acted as the factor of the associates in 
the colony. Ships were sent out at intervals, which were 

1 Brace, op. cU. II. 279 et seq, ; Brown, First Republic, 258 et seq. ; Orders 
and Constitutions, 23 ; Recs. of Va. Co. I ; Colls, of N. Y. Hist. Soc., Second 
Series, III. 343. 



loaded with miscellaneous commodities intended for sale at CHAP 
fixed prices to the colonists. The ships brought back to- ^ ^' 
bacco and sassafras, bought also at fixed rates. They thus n 
performed the functions of the earlier siiipplies, and it was 
intended that the monopoly g f trade should be secured as 
fully to the magazine in the one case as in the other. Dur- 
ing Argairs administration, however, this was impossible 
for the reason that, in violation of orders, he allowed the 
masters and seamen of vessels, as well as the settlers, to 
tra flGic freely in the products of the colony, thus destroying 
tlie market tor the imports brought over by the " magazine." 
Adventurers in the private plantations also enjoyed the 
right of marketing their products and procuring their own 
supplies from England. Tt was also possible through official 
influence for a private trader now and then to secure admis- 
sion to Virginia. According also to a law of the first 
assembly, if the supplies in the magazine did not include 
some desired article which was recognized as a necessity of 
life, it might be purchased from any one who offered it for 
sale. Because of these limitations of the monopoly, the cape- 
merchant suggested that the system of fixed prices be abol- 
ished and he be permitted to hart.p.r goods for tobacco on 
such terms as he could make. . But his suggestion was not 
approved. He was therefore limited in his sales to a profit 
of twenty-five per cent on the original cost of the goods, and 
in his purchases was required to pay 3«. per pound for the 
highest grade of tobacco and ISd. for the lowest. In order 
to insure the hdhesty of the cape-merchant, he was required 
to prepare t wo vouc hers for each transaction, one of which 
was deposited with tEe governor.^ Between 1620 and the (^ 
dissolution of the company the magazine was kept supplied 
by a succession of particular associations united in temporary 
joint stock, the adventurers throughout struggling not only 
against the attempted competition of outsiders, but against 
the declining price of tobacco. With the establishment of 
Virginia as a royal province the system of joint trading 
through a magazine entirely disa ppe ared, and privat0Mn- 

1 CoIIb. of N. Y. Hist. Soc., Second Series, in. 849 ; Proceedings of First 
Assembly of Virginia. 



FART itiatiye, regulated by English and provincial law, took its 

_^ place. 

The multiplication of settlements by the company, the 
founding of private plantations, and the general abandon- 
ment of joint management of the land, opened the way for 
the devel opment within the province of an administrative 
orga nization and a politTcal system. P olitic al conditions 
and forces begin thus to take tjn^ir place beside those of an 
essentially commercial and economic character. To this 
phase of the transition of the years 1618 and 1619 it is now 
necessary to turn our attention. ^"^ ^ 

The development of local inst itutions in Virginia was the 
immediate result of the settlement of Henrico and its adjacent 
posts and of the establishment of the priva te plantations. 
The former were in origin agricultural settlements and 
military outposts ; the latter were of the same n^t^e, but 
i \ were private jurisdictions and hence germinal manors. So 
far as the settlements, both public and private, had churches 
and were the residences of clergymen, they were, on the 
ecclesiastical side, germinal parishes. Soon after the found- 
ing of Henrico and its neighboring settlements, they begin 
to be variously designated as corporations, cities, boroughs, 
hundreds. Bermuda, — later Charles City, — Henrico, and 
Jamestown were known as cities, and reference is made to 
certain of their inhabitants as members of the corporation. 
The private settlements, as well as some of the public, were 
known as hundreds, or plantations, or by some strictly local 
designation, as Martin's Brandon, Argall's Gift. .During 
the administration of Argall, or a little later, extensive dis- 
tricts adjacent to Henrico, Charles City, James City, and 
Kecoughtan — the four original settlements along the river 
— were joined with them under the general designations of 
"corporations."^ The Corporation of Henrico included all 
settlements' on both sides of the James river from Farrar's 
island westward ; that of Charles City all from Farrar's 
island to the mouth of the Chickahominy river ; that of 
James City from the mouth of the Chickahominy possibly to 
Elizabeth river or its neighborhood ; that of Kecoughtan, 

1 Brown, First Republic, 313. 



from the bounds of the James City corporation to the bay. CHAP. 
Within these were included all the towns, hundreds, and . ' , 
plantations, whether public or private, within the colony. 
The corporation of Henrico was only one borough, though 
it contained the district settlements of Henrico, Coxendale, 
and Arrahattock. The corporation of Charles City con- 
tained five boroughs : that consisting of the old plantations 
of Bermuda Hundred, Sherley Hundred, and Charles City, 
and in addition Smith's Hundred, Flowerdieu Hundred, Mar- 
tin's Brandon, Captain Wardens Plantation. The corporation 
of James City contained four boroughs : James City, Argall's 
Gift, Hartin's Hundred, Captain Lawhe's Plantation. The 
corporation of Kecoughtan was then only one borough. With 
the growth of local subdivisions the distinction between the 
town, or original settlement, and the province appears with 
great clearness. Jamestown was once town and colony com- 
bined. It can now no longer be mistaken for the colony, and 
appears "simply as the chief towh,~tEe fesidehce of the gov- 
ernor, the place where the council meets, the port to and from 
which trade chiefly proceeds. 

It was not necessary that the administrative development 
of the colony should have proceeded farther at that time. 
For an indefinite period its affairs might have been admin- 
istered through a governor and council. It was possible to 
guarantee the private rights of the free planters through 
such administrative and judicial powers as might have been 
bestowed upon those officials. More than this the planters 
could not legally claim, and even on this basis a system much 
less rigid than that of the Lawe% Divine and Martiall could 
have been developed. But the Sandys- Southampton party, 
which in 1618 secured control of the company, was in 
strong sympathy with the parliamentary opposition in Eng- 
land. It also wished, as soon~~as possible, to remove from 
both company and colony the effects of the misgovernment 
of Argall. As a condition of further growth, it favored the 
total abandonme nt ^f the monopolistic policy of Sir Thomas 
Smith and the merchant with the plantation type of colony 
that accompanied it. It favored the establishment under 
due restrictions of private plantations, the encouragement of 



PART emigration to the colony on a larger scale, the granting of 
land under easj conditions, the largest possible freedom 
of trade. It desired to elicit to the fullest extent the co- 
operation of the colonists with the company in this work. 
In order to secure this it was resolved in 1618 by the general 
court of the company that there should be an equal and 
uniform government in the colony, consisting of " two 
s upreme coun c ils." ^ One of these was the governor and 
co unci l, chosen and appointed by the company in England. 
The other should be the general assembly, which should con- 
sist of the council of state and two burgesses chosen by the 
planters from each **town, hundred, or other particular 
plantation " in Virginia. An instruction to this effect was 
sent out with Governor Yeardley, which resulted in the 
meeting of the first Virginia assembly at the close of 
^ July, 1619. 

The burgesses,* or elected members of this body, were 
twenty-two in number, returned from the eleven boroughs, 
hundreds, or plantations, to which reference has already been 
made. By this means the union of the localities as parts of 
one colony government was assured. The representatives 
met with the governor and council in a joint assembly, pre- 
sided over by the secretary of the colony, John Pory, who 
was chosen speaker. The place of meeting was the church 
at Jamestown, the governor and council occupying the choir, 
as they did during service, and the burgesses the body of the 
church. The speaker sat in front of the governor, and thus 
was accessible to both components of the assembly. Bur- 
gesses were admitted on showing their credentials and tak- 
ing the oath of supremacy. Some hesitation was shown 
about admitting the two representatives from Captain 
Wardens Plantation, because he had founded a settlement 
without authority from the company. But in view of his 
past services to the colony in fishing and trading and on 
his promise to procure legal authority for his settlement 
before the next assembly, he and his associates were admitted. 

A more extended controversy occurred over the seating of 

1 Brown, First Republic, 309. 

s CoUs. of N. Y. Hist Soc., Second Series, ULSSbetteq. 


the burgesses from Martin's Brandon. The patent which CHAP. 
Captain John Martin had procured from the company for 
this plantation exempted him from all services for thnojlony 
save in war against a foreign or domestic enemy, and guar- 
anteed to him rights as ample as those enjoyed upon any 
the manors in England. Martin was also accused of trading 
with the Indians without license. The burgesses from Mar- 
tin's Brandon were ordered to return till such time as Cap- 
tain Martin should appear before the assembly. When he 
came he promised to abandon independent trading, and gave 
security for good conduct toward the Indians ; but he re- 
fused to consent to any change in his patent. Therefore his 
bur gesses were excluded , and the assembly petitioned the 
company that it would examine Martin's patent, and if it 
found any of its provisions inconsistent with the due uni- 
formity and equality of laws, that they might be corrected. 

After the burgesses had been duly seated, the business of 
the session was taken up. The attitude taken by the assem- 
bly revealed a suggestive combination of initiative with 
subordination. As classified^y" the spiBaker, the 'Busiiafess 
consisted in a consideration of the instructions which had 
been issued to the governors since the orders brought over 
by Yeardley and called the "great charter," for the purpose 
of ascertaining what provisions of these " might conveniently 
putt on the habite of laws " ; what laws might be passed on 
the initiative of the assembly itself ; what petitions might 
properly be sent to the company in England. The speaker 
in his report of the proceedings was careful to state that 
their object in examining the " charter " and instructions was 
not " to correct or con troll anything therein contained ; but 
onely in case we should finde aught not perfectly squaring 
with the State of this Colony, or any law which did presse 
or binde too hard, that we might by waye of humble peti- 
tion seek to have it redressed." Two committees were ap- 
pointed to examine the orders sent by Yeardley, while the 
governor and the rest of the assembly examined the earlier 

The consideration of Yeardley's orders resulted in the 
following petitions to the compjmyTThat the grants of land 


PART made to the ancient planters be c onfirm ed, so that they 

J y might not be disturbed by any grants now or later to be 

made to others ; that colonists be sent to occupy the com- 
pany's land belonging to the ** four incorporations," and ten- 
ants for the ministers' glebes situated therein ; that the 
ancient planters, both those who had come at their own cost 
and at that of the company, might receive their second, third, 
and later divisions of land in as large and free manner as any 
other planters ; that a siib-treasurer might be appointed to 
reside in the colony and collect The company's rents there in 
kind, so that the inconveniences of payment in England 
might be obviated ; that workmen might be sent to erect a 
college, and that the name Kecoughtan might be changed. 
The assembly then proceeded to enact into laws a number of 
the company's instructions relating to the morals and religion 
of the colonists, the civilizing of the Indians, the encourage- 
ment of grape, silk, and hemp culture, contracts with ten- 
ants and servants, and the maintenance of the magazine. 
To these were added a number of enactments initiated by the 
members of the assembly itself, regulating dealings with 
the Indians, religious observances, trade and morals within 
the colony. This, together with tEe trial of a^ciyitsuit 
involving the claim of Argall to certain payments^ and a 
criminal suit in which Henry Spelman was charged with 
using to Opechancanough words calculated to degrade 
Governor Yeardley in the eyes of the Indian chief, com- 
prises all the business done by the assembly. Admitting 
fully the right of the company to disallow the acts, the 
assembly requested that they might be regarded as in force 
till report of their rejection should come from England, and 
also that in due time the assembly might be authorized to 
disallow orders of the company's court, as it was empowered 
to reject acts of assembly. Thus early something like legis- 
<;^ lative equality with the court of the company in England 
was sought. 

Several entries appear in the records of the company dur- 
ing the spnng'and summer of 1620, which reveal the fact 
that the acts of the general assembly had arriv ed and were 
under consideration. As was to be~ expected, Sir Edwin 


Sandys c arefiilly perused them, and ^^ found them in their CHAP, 
greatest part to be very well and judiciously carried and ^ j 

performed." On April 8 he moved that a committee be ap- 
pointed ^^to draw them into a head and to ripen the business,"' 
that it might be submitted to a quarter court, with which 
body exclusively lay the power of approval or rejection. The 
committee was appointed, and at a later date, because they 
found their task ^^ intricate and full of labor," received an 
extension of time. Their report should have come before 
the quarter court of midsummer, 1620, but no reference to it 
appears in the journal of that session. Nor has any reference 
been noted to the subject thereafter in the records, and it 
cannot, therefore, be positively a£Grmed that the acts of this 
first legislature ever received the approval of the company.^ 
When, in July, 1624, Sir Francis Wyatt, who had been 
appointed as Yeardley*s successor, was about to depart for 
Virginia* an instruction with provisions concerning an 
assembly similar to those issued to Yeardley was given to 
him. This body was given freejgowerto treat, consult, and 
c onclude concerning the public weal of the province on " all 
emergent occasions," and also to enact such general laws 
and orders for its government as from time to time should 
appear necessary. In addition the promise was held out 
that, after the government of the province had become well 
framed and established, no orders of the court of the com- 
pany should bind the colony unles s ratified by its general 
assemblies. Th^ time for the issue of this concession never 
came, but had it come Virginia would have enjoyed greater 
liberty than was ever promised by the crown or by any 
other English proprietor. It would have stood from the 
outset on the basis which was ultimately claimed by the 
colonies in 1776, and would have been forever freed from 
the binding force of instructions. But it remained only 
a benevolent promise, and is to be classed, with the many 
assertions of full legislative competence made by colonial 
assemblies, as suggestive claims rather than sober statements 
of fact. The instruction to Wyatt, which gave to the 

1 Hening, Statutes of Virginia, I. 122 n. 

* SUtb, History of Virginia, Appendix, IV ; Hening, L 110. 



PART governor the casting vote in council and judicial tribunal 
^ ^ and the negative voice in assembly, which required the 
observance in administrative and judicial concerns of the 
forms of English law, and which were largely concerned 
with affairs of land and trade, expressed much more clearly 
the spirit of the British colonial system than did the promise 
which implied a contractual relation between colony and 
proprietor. The transition of a community within a decade 
from a state of subjection, such as that portrayed in the 
writings of Smith, or in the Lawes Divine arid Martially to 
a condition such as that suggested by the promise of the 
company, would awaken surprise in any age of the world, 
and most of all, perhaps, in the seventeenth century. 

Near the close of 1621 the second asse mbly in the history 
of Virginia was held. Its acts have not ISeen preserved, but 
from the hints which have come down concerning them we 
know that they related only to immediate needs of the 
province, and especially to the introduction of the silk cul- 
ture and that of other staple commodities in which the com- 
\^ pany was interested. In March^ 1624, the last assembly of 
proprietary Virginia met. A list of what are probaBIy"T)rief 
outlines of thirty-five acts and orders which it passed has 
been preserved.^ Several of these related to the fostering 
within the province of religious worship according to the 
forms of the English Church, and to the organization of the 
plantations and other local settlements into parishes. Pro- 
vision was also made for monthly courts at Charles City 
and Elizabeth City for the punishment of petty offences 
and the trial of suits which did not involve more than one 
hundred pounds of tobacco. These courts should consist 
of the commanders of the localities where they met, and of 
such others as the governor and council should commission 
as judges, the commanders to be the quorum, and sentences 
to be given by majority vote. The right of appeal to the 
governor and council was reserved. By this law the foun- 
dation of local government in Virginia was laid. Provision 
was made for a capitation tax of ten pounds of tobacco to 
meet the general expenses of the province. But at the same 

1 Hening, L 121. 


time the general assembly affirmed its control over the taxing CBJ 
p ower by forbidding any taxes to be laid on land or coin- 
modities in the province except by its authority, and by 
requiring that they should be levied and employed as it 
should direct. v 




We come now to consider an organization of a type some- 
what different from the London company, though closely 
connected with it in origin and history. After the failure 
of the experiment at Sagadahoc, the Plymouth patentees 
limited their efforts to fishing voyages and to the detailed 
exploration of the coast of northern Virginia. The number 
of the patentees was small and their resources were limited. 
They slumbered on while the London merchants procured 
two new charters, by which the extent of- their domain was 
made more definite, and under the authority of which they 
successfully founded a colony on the James river. 

Finally, in 1620, moved partly, as Gorges suggests, by 
emulation, the survivors among the Plymouth patentees 
^ petitioned the king for a new charter.^ By this time 
northern Virginia had been christened New England, and 
the patentees by adopting the name as the designation of 
their province established its connection forever with the 
coast region north of the fortieth, and later of the forty-first, 
degree. They now asked for the region, the vast extent of 
which they could not comprehend, lying between the fortieth 
and forty-eighth degrees and extending from sea to sea, and 
it was granted to them. But before the charter passed the 
great seal, a protest against the grant was raised by the 
patrons of the southern colony, which delayed its issue for 
a time and involved questions of some moment.* 

Under the charter of 1606 the two groups of patentees 
were not prohibited from enjojdng privileges, such as those 
of fishing, within each other's limits. There is evidence 

^ Gorges, Brief e Relation, Baxter, Gorges, I. 217. 
« N. Y. Col. Docs. III. 2, 3. 



that, from the time when Argall, in 1610, relieved the neces- CHAP. 
sities of Jamestown with a cargo of fish which he had caught, ^ 
it may be near Cape Cod, fishing expeditions had been sent 
from the southern colony to the New England coast. That 
coast had also been for years a favorite resort of English 
fishermen. The expeditions of Argall against the French 
at Port Royal are familiar examples of operations by one 
company within the limits of the other. When, in Decem- 
ber, 1619, in the court of the London company, John Del- 
bridge applied for permission to fish at Cape Cod,^ Sir 
Ferdinando Gorges, who was also a member and was pres- 
ent, objected on the ground that the petitioner should have 
applied to the patentees of the northern colony. Sir Edwin 
Sandys, then treasurer, declared in reply not only that the \ 
sea was free to both companies, but that it was clear from 
the letters patent that each might fish along the coasts of 
the other. Gorges affirmed his belief that the rights of 
each were exclusive, and offered to submit the point to 
the council of both companies. This was agreed to, and the 
council, the majority of whom in attendance may quite 
probably have been members of the London company, sup- 
ported the view of Sandys. License was thereupon given 
to the society of Smith's Hundred "to go a-fishing." But \ 
certain of the patentees of the northern colony were not 
satisfied, and insisted upon considering the question further. 
It seems to have been referred to the Duke of Lenox and 
the Earl of Anmdel, who failed to reach a decision satis- 
factory to either party. 

In the midst of this discussion Gorges and his associates , 
petitioned for the new charter, and proposed the introduc- 
tion into it of a clause securing to them the monopoly of 
trade and fishing along their entire coast. This the London 
patentees claimed to be an infringement of their chartered 
rights. It was also a violation of the principle held by 
some of them, that the sea was as free as air. It was 
therefore voted to petition the king. The petition drew 
from the privy council an order* that the two companies 
should fish along each other's coasts, though only to the 

1 Recs. of Va. Co. L 27. « N. Y. Ck)l. Docs. lU. 4. 


PART extent which was necessary for the support of their re- 
J spective colonies, or of those bound thither. The king also 

declared that, if anything injurious to the southern colony 
had been introduced into the patent, it had been surrepti- 
tiously done, and it was ordered that the affixing of the seal, 
or at least the delivery of the patent, should be postponed.^ 

An understanding was now reached to the effect that the 
charters of both companies should be amended, and the 
officers of the London company set about the drafting of 
a new patent of their own. This it was proposed to lay 
before parliament for its confirmation, that thereby the 
colony might be strengthened. During the early months 
of 1621, Sandys was busy with his task. One of the changes 
which he proposed was the substitution of governor for 
treasurer as the title of the chief executive of the com- 
pany. When, however, the draft was shown to Attorney- 
General Coventry, he expressed the opinion that the change 
in the name of the corporation which this necessitated would 
require the surrender of the existing charters. At any rate, 
he must have a special warrant from the king before he 
could insert the new clauses. A petition was accordingly 
sent to the king for this purpose. But before a reply to 
\» the petition was received, the struggle between the two 
companies was carried into the House of Commons. 

In the House the Virginia interest was strong, and during 
the session of 1621 Gorges was three times summoned* before 
the Commons on the charge that, under the color of plant- 
ing a colony, he and his associates were establishing a 
monopoly, which was a "grievance of the commonwealth." 
Personally and through counsel he defended himself against 
the charge, showing both adroitness and vigor. When asked 
to produce the patent before the House, he replied that, for 
aught he knew, it was still in the crown office of the 
chancery, where it had been left in order that certain 
faults in it might be amended, and thence the House might 
procure it at its pleasure. He denied that it was intended 
to convert the profits derived from fishing on the New Eng- 

1 Rec8. of Va. Co. I. 27, 33, 49, 52, 90, 93, 97. 
' Gk>rges, Briefe Narration, Baxter, II. 36 et seq. 


land coast to private uses, but affirmed that instead they CHAP, 
were to be used for the establishment of a plantation, the ^ ^' 
importance of which to the entire kingdom Gorges was not 
slow to emphasize before the members of the House. The 
benefits sought, he said, were no more than those enjoyed 
by many lords of manors in their counties, and were not 
inconsistent with the laws. At a later hearing, supplement- 
ing the arguments of his counsel from his own abundant 
knowledge, he described the disorders committed by the 
fishermen along the coast, and called attention to the danger 
that, because of these, the whole region, with its fishing 
interests, would fall into the possession of the French, 
Spanish, or Dutch. In his defence Gorges had the sym- 
pathy and support of the Smith faction within the London 
company, some of whom were members of the Commons. 
He had also secured as the New England patentees a large 
part of the nobles who were most influential at court, — 
Buckingham^ Lenox, Salisbury, Arundel, Pembroke, Hamil- 
ton, and others. Upon their influence he relied, while the 
Sandys party in the London company was becoming more 
obnoxious to the king because of its political connections 
and the disputes which arose over the tobacco question. 
A bill for freer liberty of fishing and fishing voyages was 
introduced into the Commons, and of this Sandys was the 
chief promoter. It was debated at length, but before any 
decisive step could be taken, Sandys and Southampton were 
arrested, June, 1621. This put an end to proceedings against 
the charter in parliament. 

An order in council ^ was issued, on June 18, providing 
that the New England charter should be delivered to 
the patentees, but with the additional specifications that 
colonists from Virginia should have the freedom of the shore 
for the purpose of drying their nets, taking and saving their 
fish, and at reasonable rates they should have the wood 
necessary for their use. This concession, however, was not 
introduced into the charter itself. As no further reference 
to the proposed new Virginia patent appears, the conclusion 
must be that it was suppressed. Thus, through influence at 

1 N. Y. Col. Docs. in. 4. 



PART court and after a struggle of nearly two years, Gorges had 
^' secured his grant, without the omission of the obnoxious 

The charter provided for a new company under the title 
^ of the " Council established at Plymouth in the County of 
Devon for the Planting, Ruling, and Governing of New 
England in America." The strongest words of incorporation 
were used, and the territory between the fortieth and forty- 
eighth degrees of north latitude, and extending through the 
continent, was bestowed, with power to grant it out to 
settlers. The customary rights of settlement and trade were 
giveq, though in a somewhat detailed and monopolistic 
form. Powers of government were also bestowed, and in 
much the same language as was used in the London charter 
of 1609. The right was given to constitute ofl&cers, as well 
those in England as those employed in the colony, and to 
issue instructions for the guidance of magistrates in New 
England. An official oath was to. be formulated and admin- 
istered to those in the plantation service, and also a judicial 
oath to be used in the examination of persons. touching the 
plantation or its business. 

.But the New England council is interesting in the present 
connection chiefly because of its name and its organization. 
In name it was the same as the Royal Council for Virginia. 
In number of members the two were not unlike. The mem- 
bers of both were required to take an oath of office before 
the lord chancellor, the lord high treasurer, or the lord 
chamberlain. In both cases they were the grantees of gov- 
ernmental powers. But in the London system of 1609 the 
council, though originally distinct, became merely a part of 
the corporation, losing thereby its separate existence. In 
the New England system the council was the corporation, 
^ and thus was the grantee of all powers. The two were 
closely joined as they were under the London charter ; but 
in this case the corporation was merged in the council, the 
latter holding the chief place and giving character to the 
system. This council, then, like the council in the London 
company, was the body to which the king addressed his 
instructions, if he had any to give. Its relation to the king 



and the privy council was direct. Its relation to the colo*v CHAP, 
nists was also direct, and it did not share the work of admin- 
istration with the corporation, for it was the corporation. 

The last distinction to be noted between the New England 
council and the London company is this : the council was 
a closed body, limited to forty members. These, with a few 
exceptions, were members of the nobility and knighthood, 
and were connected with the court party. Some were also 
members of the London company. Vacancies were to be 
filled by cooptation. It never could become, then, a large 
and dignified body like that which met at Sir Thomas 
Smith's and John Ferrar's. 

After the grant of the charter had been assured, the pat- 
entees agreed to contribute £100 each toward starting the 
enterprise,^ and an appeal was issued to the towns and cities 
of the west urging the formation of joint stocks for trade 
and colonization under the license and protection of the 
council. But the reports concerning the monopolistic 
character of the grant, which were spread broadcast as a 
result of the debates in parliament, prejudiced many against 
the company. Subscriptions did not come in. The people 
of the west generally took little interest in the scheme, 
and it languished from the outset. 

To meet the crisis, in 1622, the council issued, from the 
pen of Gorges, The Briefe Relation of the Discovery and 
Plantation of New England^ in which the history of the efforts 
of the Plymouth patentees was reviewed from the beginning, 
the existing perplexities of the council and the reasons 
for them were set forth, the advantages offered by New 
England for trade and settlement were described, and a 
scheme of government propounded. This plan was clearly 
provincial and monarchical in character, in certain features 
suggestive of the schemes of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and in 
others of the official system at Sagadahoc. The writer be- 
gins with the statement, "As there is no Commonwealth 
that can stand without Government, so the best governments 
have ever had their beginnings from one supreme head, who 
both disposed of the administration of Justice, and execution 

1 Briefe Relation, Baxter, I. 223. 


PART of publike affairs, either according to laws established or by 
the advice, or couQsell of the most eminent, discreetest, and 
best able in their kinde." 

After a brief description of the administrative organiza- 
tion of England, he continues, ^^ This foundation being so 
certaine, there is no reason for us to vary from it, and there- 
fore we have resolved to build our Edifices upon it, and to 
frame the same after the platform already layd, and from 
whence we take our denomination." Then follows the 
sketch of a governmental system which is English and feu- 
dal in every point. ^ 

Authority in all cases was to proceed from above down- 
wards. The council proposed to commit the general man- 
agement to a governor, who should be advised by as many of 
the patentees as should be resident in the province, assisted 
by the resident officials. These were to be the treasurer, 
marshal, admiral, master of ordnance, and such others as the 
patentees should think fit. They were to be guided by the 
authority given them by the president and council. Two- 
thirds of the province should be assigned to the patentees 
as counties, to be settled by themselves and their friends. 
The remaining one-third should be reserved as a source of 
revenue, through grants and rents, for general purposes. 
The entire province should be divided into counties, baro- 
nies, hundreds, manors, incorporated towns, and other local 
ffTiHjy^'ffi/viff^wj^^^^^j^^^j^^ Wfirft f^^tniliarj and rep- 

resentatives from these should meet under authority from 
the patentees, as a provincial legislature. In this body the 
clergy, as well as the laity, should be represented. No sign 
of a communal land or trade system appears in this plan, but 
instead the council was careful to state, partly as a defence 
against the charge of monopoly, that particular adventurers 
would be left to the management of their own estates and 
"officials. " We covet not," said they, " to engross anything 
at all unto ourselves ; " but they would fain arouse more of 
the nation to share in the settlement of their vast domain. 
It was a plan fairly representative of the views of an English 
courtier, churchman, and territorial lord respecting what a 

1 Briefe Belatio^ Baxter, L 234 ee seq. 


colony in America should be. It was an improvement upon CHAP, 
the plantation system of Virginia, and foreshadowed what ^* 
the later proprietary provinces became, but it contained loa^ 
many monarchical features to be wholly practical. An effort 
was at once made to organize the province on this model, 
but, in order to understand its result, reference must first be 
made to certain other significant events. 

Among those who, toward 1620, began to consider the 
project of founding a private plantation in Virginia was the 
congregation of (^paratists^ Leyden which was ministered \ 
to by John RobinsoiH With the religious side of their en- 
terprise we have in this connection nothing to do, except to 
state that it was a subject of negotiation with the London 
company and the king as early as 1617. Sandys' secretary, 
Naunton, Sir John Wolstenholme, and others were desirous 
that they should settle in Virginia and that the king should 
officially guarantee to them li berty of worship. T he most, 
however, that James could be induced to do was to connive at 
their removal, and refrain from molesting them, provided they 
kept the peace. While engaged in these negotiations the 
Separatists were further perplexed by news of the disaster 
which had attended the voyage of Francis Blackwell to Vir- 
ginia. Blackwell was a seceder from the non-conformist 
church at Amsterdam, and had come with a group of fol- 
lowers to London for the purpose of embarking for the 
colony. While there, and in attendance upon a conventicle, 
he was arrested, and, to obtain his freedom, recanted. With 
one vessel, carrying approximately two hundred colonists, 
"flocked together like herrings," he then sailed for Vir- 
ginia. During the voyage, disease carried off about 130 
of the passengers, including Blackwell himself and the 
captain of the vessel. The desire of the Leyden Separa- 
tists, however, to preserve their nationality and faith tri- 
umphed over the fears naturally aroused by reports like 
these, and in June, 1619, a patent for a private plantation 
was secured.^ It was granted by the London company in\ 
the name of John Wincob, a clergyman, who was introduced 

1 Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, 4 Mass. Hist CoUa. IIL 41 ; 
NeiU, Va. Co. 128 ; Recs. of Va. Co. I. 69. 


PABT by the Earl of Lincoln, as one intending, with associates, to 
^' ^ settle in Virginia. The document was sent to Leyden, and 
with it propositions which were then under debate between 
the congregation and such merchants and others as would 
adventure with them and contribute toward the shipping 
and other necessary expenses. These were prayerfully con- 
sidered, and it was resolved that part of the congregation 
should go and that part, with the pastor,' should abide for a 
time in Leyden ; but that, as soon as circumstances per- 
mitted, they should all again be united in America. As the 
result proved, however, Wincob remained in England, and 
no use was made of his patent. 

Among other patents which, in February, 1620, were 
granted to private adventurers by the London company, was 
one to John Pierce and associates.^ One of the associates 
was Thomas Weston, a merchant and clothworker of London, 
who had known of the plans of the Leyden congregation. 
He now visited them, advised them to reject certain propo- 
sitions recently made by the Dutch, and made them offers of 
assistance, with the fairness of which they were much im- 
pressed. Articles of agreement were prepared, which, 
after approval by Weston, were sent to England by John 
Carver, who, together with Robert Cushman, was appointed 
agent of the congregation and instructed to receive funds 
and make provision for the voyage. 

About this time the New England council was procuring 
its charter. Weston informed the Leyden people of the fact 
and, because fishing seemed likely to yield a more immediate 
profit than the raising of such commodities as could be pro- 
duced south of the fortieth parallel, he began to urge them 
to settle within its domain. This caused considerable uncer- 
tainty and distraction, but finally it was resolved to choose 
a northerly location, though no move was made to procure a 
patent from the New England council. Indeed that would 
then have been impossible, for the charter had not yet been 

^ Smith is authority for the statement (Works, 783) that the group of 
adventurers who were interested in the Leyden enterprise numbered about 
seventy, some merchants, some handicraftsmen, and that they subscribed 
all together about £7000. 


delivered to the council. But the chief cause of anxiety to CHAP. 
the leaders of the enterprise arose from the articles of agree- 
ment on which the adventurers insisted as the condition 
upon which alone they would advance funds. The congre- 
gation could not act independently, because it had not suffi- 
cient resources for the establishment of a colony. Therefore 
it must not only conform to the general regulations of the 
company concerning the founding of private plantations, but 
it must submit to terms from its special adventurers, which 
seemed irksome, but which the merchants thought necessary 
as guarantees of profit. As the prime object of the Leyden 
people was to secure religious freedom, and the sole in- 
terest of the adventurers in the scheme was profit, it was 
evident from the outset that there would be much friction. 
The women and children of the Separatists were also to 
be taken with them, and their family organization carefully 
preserved. So limited were their means, that servants appear 
in very small numbers among them. From these considera- 
tions it appears that the character of the colonists would in 
this case exert a profound, if not a controlling, influence 
over the enterprise. They would not be to such an ex- 
tent clay in the hands of the potter, as even the men and 
women with whom companies and proprietors usually in 
that century had to deal. But the fact that at the start 
the Pilgrims had to accommodate themselves to the joint — 
stock system inaugurated in American colonization by the ^ 
London company, explains much in the early history of 
Plymouth, and serves as an important connecting link 
between the development of Virginia and that of New 

After his return to England, and because he thought more 
subscriptions would by this means be secured, Weston 
insisted that certain changes should be made in the articles 
of agreement. To save time and, as they thought, further 
the enterprise, the agents accepted the changes without 
writing for special authority from Leyden. Cushman took 
the lead in this course of action, thus exposing himself to 
criticism. To the criticisms he replied in terms which were 
to an extent justifiable, but which also revealed impatience 


PART and a failure duly to appreciate the motives and scruples of 
those whom he was trying to serve. 

Following with some strictness the traditions of the 
London company, the articles upon which Weston laid 
stress provided that for a period of seven years the planta- 
tion should be managed as a joint stock. Single shares 
should be valued at £10, and every planter or colonist, 
sixteen years old and upward, should be rated at that 
amount. An additional contribution of money or supplies 
to the value of £10 should entitle one to a double share 
when the division of land and other property should come. 
Every youth between ten and sixteen years of age should 
be considered the equivalent of a half share. For every 
child under ten years, fifty acres of unimproved land should 
be allowed in the division. For late comers and those who 
should die before the end of the seven-year period, shares 
should be allowed proportioned to the length of time they 
were in the colony. The business of the plantation should 
be fishing, agriculture, and the making of such commodities 
as would be most useful to the colony.^ The chang^e intro- 
duced by the adventurers, to which the Leyden people 
objected, was the omission of clauses which in the earlier 
agreement had secured to the planters the right to separate 
houses ^ and home lots for themselves and families, and the 

1 Bradford, 46-^7. The langaage of the agreement, so far as it related 
to the point in question, was this: **The persons transported & ye adven- 
turers shall continue their joynt stock & partnership togeather, ye space of 
7. years (excepte some unexpected impediments doe cause ye whole company 
to agree otherwise) during which time, all profits & benefits that are got by 
trade, traffick, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person 
or persons, remains still in ye common stock until ye division. That at their 
coming ther, they choose out such a number of fit persons, as may furnish 
their ships and boats for fishing on ye sea ; employing the rest in their sev- 
eral faculties upon ye land ; as building houses, tilling, and planting ye 
ground, & making such commodities as shall be most useful for ye colony. 
That at ye end of ye 7. years. Ye capitall and profits, viz.<, the houses, lands, 
goods and chattels, be equally divided betwixt ye adventurers, and planters ; 
wch done, everyman shall be free from other of them of any debt or detri- 
mente concemhig this adventure. . . . That all such persons as are of this 
colony are to have their meate, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of ye 
common stock and goods of ye said coUonie.** 

^ On the slight loss that was likely to come to the adventurers from such a 


right to two days in the week in which to work for them- CHAP, 
selves. Upon the restoration of these clauses they now ^' 
insisted, and refused to sign the agreement in its existing 
form. When the Speedwell reached Southampton, Weston 
came down expecting that the articles would be signed, but 
his urgency availed nothing against the resolve of the 
planters, and the instructions of those who had remained 
behind. At this he was offended, and told them as he de- 
parted, ^Hhat they must look to stand on their own legs." 
Cushman was so irritated and discouraged by the difficulties 
he encountered in collecting supplies at London, to be 
shipped from Southampton, and in vain efforts to adjust 
relations between adventurers and planters, that he aban- 
doned the expedition after it had started. The anxieties 
of the voyagers were increased by all of these complications, 
and by the necessity they were under of selling some of 
their supplies in order to pay a debt for which they found 
that the agents had made no provision. From this time 
forth Weston was an enemy of the Plymouth settlers, 
while both planters and adventurers had begun to suffer 
from incompatibility of temper. So great was their diver- 
gence in character and ideal as to ultimately destroy the \ 
partnership, and change New Plymouth from a proprietary v 
plantation, conceived on the Virginia model, into a corpo- 
rate colony of the later New England type. 
The vessel which carried the Pilgrims to America was 

>mred and loaded with supplies through the joint action of 
the adventurers and colonists. So far as we know, she 

, sailed without definite instructions as to a landing place. 
In the region where the landing was effected, the colonists 
were squatters, destitute of legal rights of settlement. Left 
for the time wholly to themselves, as the result of three 
journeys of exploration along Cape Cod they selected Plym- 
outh as the site of their settlement. It was chosen because 
it combined the advantages of cleared land, running water, 

concesaioD, see Robinson's letter to Carver, Bradford, 40. Cushman, in re- 
plying to objections, insisted that temporary dwellings should be built at 
flist, so that, if need be, they might be abandoned. This, with cooperation 
in general, would best be served through the community i^stem. 


PART a good harbor for vessels of light draught.^ A good supply 
^ J of food also seemed immediately accessible in the adjacent 
waters and forests. 

The first step taken toward the building of a town was the 
erection by joint labor of the common house. This, located 
a little back from the shore and near the town brook, at first 
sheltered the colonists and later became their storehouse or 
magazine. Another common structure was the platform on 
the hill, where the artillery was planted. The town itself was 
laid out in the form of two streets, the principal one running 
back from the shore to Fort Hill, and another crossing it at 
right angles. Along the first of these streets were located 
the dwellings of the settlers. As the agreement had not been 
signed in England, the colonists were free to found separate 
homesteads, and immediately did so. " We divided by lot ^ 
the plot of ground whereon to build our town, after the pro- 
portion formerly allotted. We agreed that every man should 
build his own house, thinking by that course men would make 
more haste than working in common." The allotment, pre- 
viously made, was for nineteen families, it being provided 
that the single men should join with some family. The 
larger lots were assigned to the larger families, to each 
person in the proportion of 8| feet front and 49J feet in 
depth. Some twelve houses* were built at the outset. 

At the beginning Plymouth was not impaled. Owing 
to the recent destruction of the natives in the region by a 
pestilence this seemed unnecessary. But after about a year 
had passed, owing to rumors of a hostile spirit among the 
Narragansetts, "they agreed," says Bradford, "to inclose 
their dwellings with a good strong pale, and make flankers 
in convenient places, with gates to shute, which were every 
night locked, and a watch kept, and when neede required 
there was also warding in ye daytime." 

When Secretary De Rasieres visited the settlement in 1627, 
he found the houses " constructed of hewn planks, with gar- 

1 Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrims, 162 e!t seq. On page 167 it is stated, 
** After our landing and viewing of the places, so well as we could.** 
« Ibid. 173 ; Plymouth Colony Recs. VII. 1. 
» Goodwin, Pilgrim Republic, 106. 


dens also enclosed behind and at the sides with hewn planks, CHAP, 
so that their houses and courtyards are arranged in very good ^' 
order, with a stockade against a sudden attack ; at the ends 
of the streets are three wooden gates. In the centre, on the 
cross street, stands the governor's house, before which is a 
square enclosure upon which four patereros are mounted, so 
as to flank along the streets." ^ 

The common house was used at the beginning as a chapel, 
but later, when the platform, or fort, on the hill was enlarged, 
a room built underneath it was used for the purpose. De 
Rasieres spent Sunday at Plymouth, and described what 
he saw. ^^ They assembled by beat of drum, each with his 
musket or firelock, in front of the captain's door ; they have 
their cloaks on, and place themselves in order, three abreast, 
and are led bjf a sergeant with beat of drum. Behind comes 
the governor in a long robe ; beside him, on the right hand, 
comes the preacher with his cloak on, and on the left hand 
the captain with his side-arms and cloak on, and with a small 
cane in his hand ; and so they march in good order, and each 
sets his arms down near him. Thus they are constantly on 
their g^rd, night and day." 

At Jamestown the summer and early autumn brought 
sickness and death ; at Plymouth the winter occasioned the 
greatest difiBculties of this kind. During the first winter, 
of the 102 colonists who came over in the Mayflower^ almost n^ 
one-half died from the effects of the voyage, and of the 
exposure which followed^ it. Scurvy and other diseases 
prevailed, so that in March not more than six or seven well 
persons remained in the settlement. The living were scarce 
able to bury the dead. But with the advance of spring the 
mortality ceased and the sick recovered. During the summer 
they did not lack for wholesome food, and when the second 
winter came round, the survivors had become so far accli- 
mated and were so well housed, that a second visitation 
of disease was avoided. To the comparative healthfulness ' 
of the climate, and the dryness, not to say the poverty, of the 
soil, the survival of the colony was due. Had the climate of 
New England been so unlike that of old England as was that 

1 Colls, of N. Y. Hist Soc. First Series, II. 861, 362. « Young, 198. 


PART of Virgfinia, the Plymouth enterprise must have perished 
J in the cradle. The resources of the Pilgrims and of their 
patrons would have been exhausted by a second experience 
like that of the first winter. From the nature of the case 
the number of planters who could be sent to such a colony 
was limited, while its financial support was beyond com- 
parison weaker than that provided by the London com- 
pany. But at Plymouth there was no thought of abandoning 
the settlement, and little or none of the sloth against which 

^ Smith and Dale had so long to contend in Virginia. Brad- 
ford could proudly refer to those who died the first winter as 
honest and industrious men, whose lives ^^ cannot be valued 
at any price." 

■'" Adjacent to the settlement were the common fields of the 
colony. These were cultivated by the common labor of the 
planters. The Indian Tisquantum taught them how to 
plant corn, and they fertilized it with alewives caught by a 
weir in the town brook. This became the chief product of 
their husbandry and an important object of trade with the 
natives. As the agreement, with all the provisions intro- 
duced by the adventurers, was signed by the planters in 

s^ 1621,^ it is certain that no private labor was permitted save 
that which was expended on the dwellings and the plots of 
ground adjacent to them. The entire product, both of 

Ni husbandry and trade, went into the common store and was 
used for the support of the colony and in the form of returns 
to the adventurers. Various trading expeditions were made 
along the Cape and the shores of Massachusetts bay for 
the purpose of obtaining com and beaver, and of opening 
friendly relations with the Indians whom the pestilence had 
left scattered through the region. These journeys at first 
could not be long, because the only craft possessed by the 
colonists was a shallop ; and the returns from them to the 
adventurers were very slight. 

The colony was furnished with European commodities and 
received additions to its numbers through the system of 
"supplies." The Fortune^ landed in November, 1621, with 
about thirty-five colonists, but without additional food 

1 Bradford, 108. * Ibid, 106 ; Toung, 234. 


supplies. It brought Cushman as an agent of the adven- CHAl 
turers, and a letter from Weston complaining sharply of the 
failure of the colonists to sign the agreement. It was doubt- 
less this and the influence of Cushman which procured their 
signatures and enabled him to take back a copy with him. 
A cargo of clapboard, with two hogsheads of beaver and 
otter skins, was returned on the vessel. She had also 
to be revictualled by the colonists. Cushman, on reaching 
England again, acted for a time as the agent of the colony,^ 
but on the return of the next ship his place was taken by 
Edward Winslow, a leading planter, who was followed by 
Miles Standish, and later by Isaac AUerton. 

Owing in part to disasters at sea, it was not until the 
summer of 1628 that the colony was visited by another sup- 
ply ship which was intended directly for its relief. The 
ship Anne and the pinnace Little Jhmes^ which came at that 
time, brought ninety-six emigrants, and food for their sus- 
tenance till they themselves could raise a crop. The pin- 
nace remained in the colony, and the Anne returned with a 
cargo of clapboard and furs. The following year the first 
domestic cattle were brought into the settlement. In this 
way, throughout the early period of the colony's existence, 
connection between it and its sources of supply in Europe \^ 
was maintained, but unlike Virginia almost no governmental 
control was exercised by this means. 

On the Anne^ in 1628, the adventurers sent over the body 
of colonists known as the " perticulers." Instructions were 
sent with them to the effect that they should be given 
separate allotments of land, but should remain under the 
government of the colony. Had they be6n allowed to take 
up land at a considerable distance from Plymouth, some- 
thing like the Virginia plantation might have come into 
existence within this colony ; but to avoid dispersion they 
were allotted habitations within the town. They were 
excluded from trade, while, in consideration of their exemp- 
tion from common labor, they were taxed for the support 
of the governor and other officials. They were also required 
to share in the common defence and in ^^ such other imploy- 

1 Goodwin, 243. 

VOL, I — X 


'ART mentfi as tend to ye perpetuall good of ye colony." In the 
• J spring of 1623, however, before the " perticulers " arrived, a 
/ general desire for the abandonment of the system of common 
labor and for allotments of land was manifested by the 
settlers. In a well-known passage the historian of the 
colony relates how the community system was found to 
breed confusion and discontent. The strong and able men 
repined because they must spend their time for others, while 
in the division of food and clothing they received no more 
than the weak and inefiBcient. The aged and graver were 
ranked in labor and reward with the younger and meaner. 
Above all, that men's wives should be compelled to do ser- 
vice for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their 
^^ clothes, and the like,' was deemed a kind of slavery, and 
many husbands could not well brook it. In short, they con- 
sidered the system to be contrary to ^^ those relations that 
God hath set amongst men," and their experience of it to 
prove the vanity of the ancient philosophers, who, like Plato, 
insisted "that the taking away of property . . . would 
make them happy and flourishing." After discussion, there- 
fore, the governor consented that for the year 1628 every 
one should plant corn for himself. The plan proved a suc- 
cess, and a system of barter was established. The next year 
an acre of land near the town was granted in perpetuity to 
every person.^ In this way, when the septennial period was 
little more than half over, a serious inroad was made on the 
joint land system. 

Moreover, as time passed, the relations between the 
planters and the adventurers became less satisfactory. 
Weston, notwithstanding a recent assertion of unending 
fidelity, abandoned the partnership, and to the surprise and 
great discomfort of the Plymouth colonists, attempted to 
found an independent settlement* at Wessagussett, on the 
southern side of what was later Boston harbor. This he did 
under a patent from the New England council, though all 
trace of the document has now been lost. The colonists 

1 Bradford, 134, 167 ; Recs. Xn. 4. 

3 The details of his movements will be found in Adams, Three Episodes 
of Ma8sachusett» History, L 


which he sent over were vagabonds and adventurers, picked CHA 
up from the streets of London. They were neither properly 
furnished with supplies^ nor informed concerning the coasts 
where they were to settle. Trade and fishing was their 
errand, and speedy returns were the desire of their employers. 
But recklessness and the pressure of hunger in due time 
involved them in difficulties with the Indians, and at the 
close of the first winter, 1622-1628, the settlement was 
abandoned. Throughout its brief existence it was dependent 
on Plymouth for support and protection, though planted 
with no friendly purpose. 

The adventurers who, after the retirement of Weston, re- 
mained in partnership with the planters at Plymouth did not 
agree among themselves.^ Severe losses were suffered and 
debts were incurred. The planters desired that the Leyden 
congregation should be brought over at the common expense, 
but the adventurers were opposed to doing this. From a 
commercial standpoint the enterprise was not a success ; and 
the complaints of the adventurers naturally irritated the 
planters, who were stoutly contending against great difficul- 
ties. Many who were sent over as colonists were in char- 
acter not acceptable to the planters, and it would have been 
strange had they been so. Recriminations early became 
mutual,^ and so divergent were their respective interests and 
policies that events tended inevitably toward a dissolution 
of the partnership. By that means alone could the colony 
attain the freedom to pursue the natural course of its 

But meantime events had occurred, resulting from their 
choice of a location for the colony north of the fortieth par- 
allel, which made the planters tenants of the New England 
council. As soon as it became known where the colony 
was situated, John Pierce procured a deed of grant from 
the council. It was dated ^ June 1, 1621, and was issued 
to Pierce and his associates, who were the adventurers and 

This, Thomas Weston wrote, was better than their former 

1 Bradford, 168 et aeq. * Ibid. 100 et seq. 

• Ibid. 107, 138 ; 4 Mass. Hist Colls. U. 166. 


ART charter, "and with less limitation."^ However that may- 
have been, it contained simply a grant of land, in amount 
proportional to the number of permanent settlers, with lib- 
erty to trade with the neighboring Indians, to hunt and fish 
in any places not inhabited by the English, and to import 
goods and products into England or elsewhere, subject to 
English duties. No attempt was made to bound the grant 
or to specify its location otherwise than by the statement 
that the land taken up should not lie within ten miles of any 
other English settlement, unless the two were on opposite 
sides of some large navigable river. Provision was made 
for the payment to the council of a quitrent of two shillings 
per hundred acres. The patentees were temporarily granted 
the power to issue such ordinances as were necessary " for 
their better government," and to put them into execution 
through elected officers. They were also promised that, if 
after seven years the request was presented, the grantees 
should be incorporated with some fit name and receive addi- 
tional powers of government ; but how this could be legally 
effected without a royal charter does not appear. Before a 
year had passed Pierce obtained for himself in joint interest 
with his associates another patent ; but on the same day, 
April 20, 1622, he surrendered it and secured in its place a 
" deed pole," which was drawn on behalf of Pierce himself, 
his associates, heirs, and assigns.^ By this step, surrepti- 
tiously taken, Pierce apparently intended to transform his 
trusteeship into a proprietorship. Bradford states, "he mente 
to keep it to him selfe and alow them what he pleased, to 
hold of him as tenants, and sue to his courts as chief e Lord." 
" But ye Lord marvelously crost him," for in the ship Para- 
gon he was twice wrecked, and his losses were so heavy that 
he had to assign to the adventurers the patent he last pro- 
cured.8 As assigns of Pierce the associates enjoyed, till 
1629, all the rights to which he had been entitled. 

But from the proprietary relations, loose though they might 

1 Young, Chronicles, 234 n. 

« Bradford, 138, 139 n. ; Records of New England Council, in Proceedings 
of American Antiquarian Society, April, 1867, 91 et seq. 
8 Bradford, 139 ; Goodwin, Pilgrim Republic, 236. 


be, and from the mora onerous communal system, the planters CHAP, 
desired to free themsllves. As soon as the colony had at- ^ ^' ^ 
tained sufficient resciiirces and economic independence to 
make it possible, negotiations with a view to separation 
were begun. Early ik 1627 Isaac Allerton, who had been 
appointed agent by th^ planters, brought from England an 
offer of the adventurers., to sell all their claims to the land and 
other property connected with the colony for X1800.^ The 
offer was accepted by the planters, and eight of the chief 
among them bound themselves on behalf of the whole body 
to pay the debt. These eight were known as "the under- 
takers." The period during which the joint land system 
was to be maintained had expired; and since the settlers 
were so strongly opposed to it, it naturally disappeared after 
the partnership had been dissolved. As soon as it had been 
decided to accept the proposal of the adventurers, " ye com- 
pany " was called together, and it was determined to receive 
among the active and responsible sharers in the enterprise all 
heads of families and all young men who were "able to 
goveme themselves with meete discretion, and their affairs 
80 as to be helpfull to ye common-welth."* Then it was 
resolved to divide the tillable land near the town among the 
heads of families and the able young men.^ This was done 
by lot, the poorer land and the meadow remote from the 
town being left common. At the same time the common 
stock of domestic animals was divided. In 1633, owing to 
the increased demand for hay caused by the exportation of 
corn and cattle, the meadow was also divided.^ Thus joint 
landholding as a system disappeared in the town and colonyV 
of Plymouth. There was another side to the transaction in ^ 

the spring of 1627. Not only was the offer of the adventurers 
accepted and the arable divided, but the eight colonists who 
had undertaken to pay the £1800 associated with themselves 
all the heads of families and single young men just men- 
tioned, in joint responsibility for the payment not only of 

^ Bradford, 203, 210, 212, 214, 226, 373 n. 

« Ibid, 214. 

* Ibid, 216 ; Recs. XIL 13 ; Hazard, Hist. Colls. 1. 180, 181. 

«Bec8. L 14. 


PART the debt due the adventurers, but also of the other debts 
of the colony, then amounting to X600.^ In order to pro- 
cure the resources needed for this, it was resolved to carry 
on the trade of the colony for six years on a joint stock basis, 
the colonists as a whole forming the company. Each single 
man was offered one share, and each head of a family as 
many shares as there were persons in his family, with the 
possibility that some would ultimately be disposed of to 
meritorious servants. Those who took these shares were 
known later as the "purchasers or old-comers."* With 
them were associated four of the old adventurers, who 
retained an interest in the trade of the colony. Isaac AUer- 
ton was employed as the agent of the " purchasers," at the 
head of whom, in the capacity both of managers and of 
responsible members of the company, stood "the under- 
takers." The last half of Bradford's history is filled with 
the details of the trading operations of " the undertakers," 
and of the independent course which was run by AUerton. 
It was by them that the patents for land on the Kennebec river 
were obtained, and two trading posts established, one at Fort 
Popham and the other on the site of the modern Augusta.* 
That enterprise occasioned the planting of the post on 
Penobscot bay, and the independent undertaking of Allerton 
at Machias.^ In 1638 the trading post on the Connecticut 
was established. Of these posts the only one which con- 
tinued long and was governed as a dependency of the 
colony was that on the Kennebec. Business relations be- 
tween " the undertakers " and the four English partners 
continued until 1642,^ when a final settlement was effected, 
though the last of the debts of the colony arising from its 
trading operations were not paid until four years later. 

Before Plymouth, by the process just traced, emerged from 
its original state as a proprietary plantation and became a 
corporate colony, the New England council had attempted 

1 Bradford, 216, 226. 

* Ibid. 372 n. ; 1 Mass. Hist. Colls, m. 60. 

* Williamson, History of Maine, L 237, 262 ; Goodwin, Pilgrim Republic, 

* Bradford, 266 et seq, ; Goodwin, 333 et seq. 
A Bradford, 370, 400 et seq. ; Goodwin, 411. 


to establish a government within its vast domains. The CHAP, 
issue of Gorges's Briefe Relation^ to which reference has . ^* 
already been made, was a step preparatory to this. The 
extant records ^ of the council, a part of which cover certain 
months of 1622 and 1628, show that it was then striving 
to secure the payment of the subscriptions of XlOO each 
which had been promised by the patentees, to regulate 
fishing along its coasts, to encourage private voyages and 
colonizing enterprise, and to build a ship of its own. In 
November, 1622, a royal proclamation^ was issued at the 
request of the council, forbidding all persons to trade with 
the natives or visit the coast between the fortieth and forty- 
eighth parallels without its license, on penalty of forfeiture of 
vessel and cargo. The license fee for fishermen, agreed upon 
by the council, was " five fishes out of every hundred." Cer- 
tain men might be left at the fishing stations while the vessels 
were marketing their cargoes, with supplies sufficient to 
enable them to continue the business.^ Both the proclama- 
tion and the regulations of the council for enforcing it should 
be posted on the mainmast of every ship engaged in the 
fishing industry along the New England coast. In the new 
charter which it was proposed to secure, the monopoly of 
the sea was, if possible, to be continued,^ while socage tenure 
was to be abandoned and a military tenure substituted, with 
the power to create titles of honor and precedency. 

As another and a most important step toward enforcing 
its monopoly, the council commissioned Robert Gorges, 
second son of Sir Ferdinando, as lieutenant-general of New 
England,^ and a grant of land was made to him extending 
about ten miles along the coast and thirty miles inland.® 
Captain Francis West was appointed admiral for one voyage 
with Captain Thomas Squibb as his assistant. West was 
sent out in advance of Gorges. It was partly in order to 

^ Proceedings of Am. Antiq. Soc., 1867. 

* Hazard, Hist. Colls. L 161. 

« Records of Council, 67, 70, 73. 
« ma, 63, 67. 

* Baxter, Gorges, 11, 49 ee seq. 

' It comprised the territory between the month of the Charles riyer and 
Nahant, and extended inland to the vicinity of Concord. 


PART fit out the lieutenant-general, that repeated and stringent 
orders were issued from the council for the payment of 
arrearages by patentees. But there were few favorable 
responses. Even threats to strike the names of patentees 
from the lists failed to move the courtiers who had given 
their names to the enterprise at the outset chiefly because 
their political influence was needed in its behalf. A loan of 
X100,000 was offered by certain merchants, but this had to 
be " respited in regard of the difficulty of finding security." 
The vessel which was building for the transportation of 
Robert Gorges had to be mortgaged in order to procure 
money with which to pay for her equipment. Owing to 
neglect in the payment for shares, the membership of the 
council was not full. Of the forty required by the charter 
scarcely more than twenty had paid up. Rarely did more 
than half a dozen members attend its meetings, and the 
only two who were regularly present were Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges and Dr. Barnabee Gooch. Though the council 
was located at Plymouth, its meetings were held at some 
place in London. The meetings were not called general 
courts, and were not such, for this corporation had no 
generality. There were no ordinary courts. The only 
executive offices mentioned were a president, whose title 
was later changed to that of governor, a treasurer, clerk, and 
auditors, though committees were occasionally appointed to 
facilitate business. Inasmuch as membership and attendance 
never approximated to the proportions suggested by the 
charter, the council was much like a board of proprietors — 
like that body which later founded the two Carolinas. 
\^ Gorges always directed its policy, and for a time was its 
official, as well as its real, head. During the discussion of a 
new patent in 1622, it was even proposed to change the 
grant into a proprietorship. " Not to make a corporation," it 
was said, " but to take the land to us and our heirs." When, 
ten years later, the question of a new patent came up again, 
it was agreed that a copy of the charter for Maryland, 
recently granted to Lord Baltimore, should be given to Sir 
Henry Spelman for his use in preparing the draft. ^ The 

1 Records of Council, 08, 90, 111. 


grants made by the council were in the nature of feudal CHAP. 
principaUties. ^_^ 

A reason prominently urged by the adventurers in expla- 
nation of the failure to pay in their shares, was this, that 
they did not know what they were to receive for their 
money. To meet this difficulty, it was resolved by the 
council to allot its domains among the patentees, and to 
mark out the allotments on a map so that they could be 
clearly seen. A drawing of the lots took place at Green- 
wich in the presence of the king, on a Sunday in June, 
1623. But though the territories to be disposed of were 
large enough to make respectable kingdoms of the medi- 
aeval type, only eleven out of the twenty patentees took 
interest enough to be present. Twenty lots of two shares 
each were drawn, so that by a series of assignments of 
the extra shares, forty adventurers — if so many should 
pay up — might receive grants. Of the region between 
the Saint Croix and Buzzards bay, as shown in Sir William 
Alexander's map — which was used for the purpose — the 
Earl of Arundel and Sir Ferdinando Gorges drew the 
easternmost shares. The Mount Desert region was drawn 
by Sir Robert Mansell, and that of Casco bay by the Earl 
of Holdernesse. A part of what later became southern 
New Hampshire fell to Buckingham, and Cape Ann to the 
Earl of Warwick. Boston harbor and its adjacent territory 
went to Lord Gorges, and Cape Cod to Dr. Gooch. Twenty 
shares in all were marked on the map. 

Within a few weeks after this division of New England 
on paper, Robert Gorges sailed for America to assume the^ 
governor generalship over the entire domain of the council. 
A council was appointed to assist him, consisting of the 
admiral. Captain Francis West, Christopher Levett, and the 
governor of Plymouth ex officio. He received a commis- 
sion giving authority in civil and criminal matters. He 
was also accompanied by two clergymen of the English 
Church, and by a small number of mechanics, farmei*s, and 
traders.^ But these were not enough to found a colony, 
while they were absurdly inadequate to the task of enforcing 

1 Adams, Three Episodes, L 142. 


PABT submission among the scattered settlers and of regulating 
the doings of the fishermen who had their rendezvous at 
points on the eastern coast. Gorges landed in New Eng- 
land early in the autumn and remained over winter in the 
settlement which had recently been abandoned by Weston's 
men. In the spring he returned to England in disgust. 
Thomas Weston was at the time a fugpitive in New Eng- 
land, having fled from home under a charge of fraudu- 
lently exporting to the continent a quantity of ordnance 
and munitions which he had procured under the false 
pretence that they were for use in his American colony. 
During Gorges' sojourn in New England, with the aid of 
Governor Bradford of Plymouth he had charged Weston 
with his offence and had brought him into submission. 
But beyond this Gorges accomplished nothing. The few 
settlers whom he left behind abandoned Wessagussett and 
sought more favorable locations about Massachusetts bay, 
where they were found by the Puritans on their arrival four 
or five years later. Young Gorges himself died not long 
after his return to England, leaving the territorial claim 
which had arisen from his unimproved grant to his brother, 
from whom it passed to John Oldham and Sir William 
Brereton.^ This, with a few scattering farms, was all that 
survived of the attempt of the New England council to 
enforce its monopoly over trade and fishing, and to found a 
^^^ great proprietary province in which the Anglican ritual 
should be the only form of worship legally recognized.^ 
New Plymouth was thus enabled to pursue its course practi- 
^ cally unhindered. The fisheries remained open to English- 
men, notwithstanding the monopolistic clause in the charter 
of 1620. 
^ Since the plans of Sir Ferdinando Gorges to increase the 
resources of the council did not succeed, and since no steps 
were taken by those adventurers who had received allotments 

1 Massachusetts and its Barly History, Lowell Institute Lectures, 154. 

* Captain Henry Josselyn is authority for the statement that, in 1031, 
Captain Walter Keal of the Laconia company was appointed governor of 
that part of New England between Massachusetts and the Saint Croix river, 
but of real assertion of control by him we hear nothing. Jenness, New 
Hampshire Documents, 76. 


in 1628 to improve them or even to take out patents for CHAP, 
them, all that could be done by the council was to grant ^' 
its domain in parcels to such as would undertake to found 
private or subordinate public plantations. It was too weak 
to directly colonize or govern. Substantially all that re- 
mains of its history, except its final dissolution, is to be 
found in the catalogue of its grants ; and in the making of 
them it ignored the allotment of 1628. Of the grants the 
largest number were made in favor of Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges and John Mason, with their heirs and associates. 
They were issued at dates extending through almost the 
entire life of the council. Mason, however, did not become 
a member of the council until 1632, and his activity in 
that body was closed by his death in 1685. The Earl of 
Warwick was then president, but he soon ceased to attend 
the meetings. Repeated efforts were made, though in vain, 
to procure from him the seal of the company. It was then 
proposed that the number of the council should be filled; 
that all patents should be called for, perused, and confirmed, 
if the council saw fit ; that a surveyor should be sent over 
to set the bounds of every grant that had been made, and 
that other steps should be taken to uphold the monopoly 
of the council, and to regulate affairs within its domain. 
But no effective measures were taken to execute these 

The earliest grant to Mason was the territory, named 
Mariana, which lay between the Naumkeag or Salem river 
and the Merrimac, and which extended inland to the head of 
the first-mentioned stream. This patent was issued March 
9, 1622. On August 10, 1622, to Gorges and Mason jointly 
was granted the region between the Merrimac and Kennebec 
rivers, and extending sixty miles inland. This was to beN 
known as the Province of Maine. On December 80, 1622, 
the grant to Robert Gorges, already referred to, was made. 
On November 7, 1629, that part of the region already con- 
veyed to Gorges and Mason jointly which lay between the 
Merrimac and Piscataqua rivers, was granted to John 
Mason. It was his intention to call this New Hampshire, \| 
from the county in England where he had long resided. 


PART On November 17, 1629, the so-called Laconia g^ant was 
^ issued. This purported to convey to Gorges, Mason, and 
associates the territory bordering Lake Champlain — called 
in the grant, ^^ the river and lake or rivers and lakes of the 
Iroquois,'' — and extending ten miles south and east there- 
from, and thence westward halfway to Lake Ontario and 
northward to the river Saint Lawrence. The patentees were 
also authorized to select a tract of one thousand acres on the 
sea-coast, where they should find one unoccupied. The 
peculiar location of this grant originated from the supposi- 
tion that' the Piscataqua river had its source in Lake 
Champlain, and that the fur trade could be prosecuted 
along its course with the nations of the Great Lakes and 
Saint Lawrence, the central trading post of the company 
being located on a thousand-acre tract near the mouth of 
the Piscataqua. The fact that two mountain chains and 
a river valley intervened between the two sections of this 
grant was of itself enough to defeat its purpose. On 
November 3, 1631, the Laconia patentees received from the 
council, under the name of the Pescataway Grant, a tract 
including the Isles of Shoals and territory on both sides 
of the Piscataqua river, extending on the northern bank 
a distance of thirty miles inland. On April 22, 1685, the 
share of Mason in the final division of the domain of the 
New England council was confirmed to him, and the con- 
firmation was entered on the minutes of the council. This 
comprised the territory between the Salem and Piscataqua 
rivers and extending sixty miles inland, also the southern 
half of the Isles of Shoals, and a tract of ten thousand acres 
lying just east of the mouth of the Kennebec river, to be 
known as Masonia. To the royal charters, granted, and 
alleged to have been granted, to Gorges and Mason, refer- 
ence will be made in another connection. 

To the four patents which were granted between 1621 and 
1630 to trustees and associates connected with the colony 
of Plymouth reference has already been made. In the 
same connection mention should also be made of the inden- 
ture of March 19, 1628, to the Massachusetts company. 
This included the territory between lines drawn three miles 


north of the Merrimac and three miles south of the Charles CHAP, 
river, and extending through to the South Sea. ^' 

Other miscellaneous grants were : two at the mouth of 
the Saco river, which developed into the towns of Saco and 
Biddefordy Maine ; the Muscongus Grant, later known as 
the Waldo Patent, comprising a territory thirty miles 
square, extending back from the seaboard between the 
Penobscot and Muscongus rivers ; the Lygonia, or Plough 
Patent, extending along the coast of Maine from Cape Por- 
poise to Sagadahoc and forty miles inland ; the Black Point 
Grant of fifteen hundred acres in Scarborough, Maine, to 
Thomas Cammock ; a grant of fifteen hundred acres to 
Richard Bradshaw, located above the head of the Pejepscot 
river ; to Trelawney and Goodyear, Richmond's Island and 
a tract extending from the Black Point Patent to Casco bay 
or river ; to Robert Aldworth and Giles Eldridge, a large 
tract of land near Pemaquid, increasing in extent with the 
number of colonists that might settle there ; a grant of six 
thousand acres and one island at Little Harbor, near the 
mouth of the Piscataqua river, to David Thomson^ and 
others ; Hilton's Point on the Piscataqua river, to Edward 
Hilton ; and possibly the so-called Swamscot Patent, cover- 
ing a tract south of the lower course of the Piscataqua 
river in New Hampshire. Various other smaller grants 
were also made. 

Only a few of these concessions were perfected, and of 
only a small number of them was seisin taken. Owing to 
the ignorance and carelessness of the parties concerned, not 
only were their bounds in many cases so stipulated as to 
overlap, but in some cases later grants superseded earlier 
and unperfected ones. About the mouth of the Piscataqua 
river was a network of grants, the bounds of which it is 
not easy to disentangle. 

The most important case of an earlier grant being super- 
seded by a later one was that of the patent to Robert Gorges. 
He had taken possession of it, and settlers brought over by 
him had been established within it ; yet, about four years 
later, by means not clearly known but declared by the 
1 Deaiie, ProceedingB of Mass. Hist Soc. XIV. 868 et teg. 


PART Gorges family to have been surreptitious, the Massachusetts 
company obtained from the council a grant which included 
all of the Robert Gorges patent and extended far beyond 
it on three sides. This grant also superseded the Mariana 
patent of 1622, within which, however, it is scarcely probable 
that Mason had planted any colonists. 

The grants were made according to two models, one for 
private and another for public plantations. As specified in 
the regulation of the council of December 1, 1631,^ the 
tenants or freeholders of the private plantations should 
receive a quantity of land, allotted and bounded by the 
commissioner of survey. The conditions of grant should be 
such as the council should order, including the stipulation 
not to alienate without leave, and within five years to settle 
upon the grant a certain number of people with their cattle 
and other possessions. Gorges and his associates cherished 
the plan of developing not only private plantations, but 
fully organized sub-fiefs, with institutions of government, 
all subordinate to a governor-generalship of New England. 
The larger grants should carry with them authority to call 
an assembly, make by-laws, and appoint magistrates sub- 
ordinate to the general government of the entire province 
of New England. A provision was introduced into the 
patent of Robert Gorges for appeals from all judgments 
rendered in his grant to "the Court of parliament" here- 
after to be in New England, while he was to supply four- 
teen armed men to the governor-general when ordered so 
to do. The Mariana, Maine, and New Hampshire grants are 
examples of the second class, for they expressly mentioned 
powers of government. Concessions of that sort, however, 
were invalid from the first, for the council had received 
no authority from the king to bestow such powers. Before 
rights of this nature could be legally exercised, confirmation 
by the king was necessary. 

The smaller grants, or private plantations, correspond to 

^ those established in Virginia by the London company, and 

were in plan fundamentally like Plymouth in early days. 

The indenture to David Thomson provided for a partnership 

^ Records of New England Council, 99. 


between him and three merchants named in the document, CHAP, 
and required that for five years their land and trade should ^ ^' , 
be organized as a joint stock. Thomson should go in person 
to Piscataqua, taking with him men and supplies furnished 
by the merchants ; buildings should be erected, and trading, 
fishing, and farming begun as a joint enterprise. If Thom- 
son, however, should not bear his share of the expense, which 
was three-fourths of the whole, the merchants might employ 
ships and fish independently. At convenient intervals, be- 
ginning with the close of a five-year period, sections of the 
land should be divided in the proportion of three-fourths 
to Thomson and one-fourth to his partners, while the profits 
should also be divided in the same ratio. It was a small 
enterprise ; not more than ten persons were probably con- 
cerned in it. The only woman known to have been in the 
settlement was the wife of Thomson himself. But it was 
a typical example of a large group of settlements of that 
class in early New England. The partnership was dis- 
solved at the close of the five-year period,^ and Thomson 
removed to an island in Boston harbor. 

The Laconia company was a private association formed 
for trading and fishing. By joint contributions it furnished 
and sent over in 1630 the bark ' Warwick^ of eighty tons' 
burden. She brought a governor of the settlement and a 
factor. They took possession, and later the company became 
the owner of the house which Thomson had built and left 
standing at Odiorne's Point ; perhaps also of a part of his 
plantation. A larger residence, called "the great house,'* 
and later " Mason Hall," was built at Strawberry Bank, near 
the original settlement, by an " artificer " named Chad- 
bourne, who was sent over as an employee of the company. 
We hear also of Thomas Eyre, one of the company, acting 
as clerk and accountant, that is, superintendent or manager 
of the business in England. Besides the plantation at 
Strawberry Bank, another plantation was formed on the 
Newichwannock river, where the town of South Berwick, 
Maine, is now located. At the latter place one or more 
saw-mills were erected, and lumbering was carried on in 
1 JeonesB, Notes on the First Planting of New Hampshire, 10. 


PART connection with these. Land was cleared at both places and 
^ J farm products were raised for the subsistence of the em- 
ployees of the company. Stock-raising was also developed to 
an extent. Potash was manufactured. Pishing was carried 
on along the neighboring coasts, especially off the Isles of 
Shoals. But at both plantations the beaver trade was the 
most important form of industry.^ Ships plied between 
the settlement and Europe, bringing supplies and carrying 
products to market. An ill-timed voyage of the LyorCB 
Whelp^ under Captain John Gibbs, in 1632, resulted in heavy 
loss to the company. The returns from the plantations were 
not sufficient to cover this. The route for trade to Lake 
Champlain was, of course, not discovered, though explora- 
tions to the west were attempted. In the summer of 1633 
Walter Neale, the governor, returned to England to report, 
and a few months later the partnership was dissolved. The 
land and other property of the patentees was divided. As a 
result of this Gorges and Mason separated ; the interests of 
the one being confined to the north, and those of the other 
to the south, of the Piscataqua river. 

Operations similar to those just described were conducted 
at Richmond's island and in the other settlements along the 
Maine coast. But extended reference to some of these will 
more appropriately be made under another head. 

The last of the plantations of the proprietary type to be 
described in this connection is the one founded by the 
Massachusetts company at Salem. This has been reserved 
till the close, not because it was the latest to be established 
or because its form at the outset differed materially from 
\^ that of the other public plantations to which reference has 
been made, but because of the historic importance which 
attaches to it. That importance, however, it attained not as 
a proprietary plantation, but by reason of its development 
"^ into a corporate colony. Its history appropriately concludes 
the treatment of the proprietorship in its earliest form, and 
opens the way for the consideration of the corporate colony. 

The story of the development of the Massachusetts com- 

^ Details are given in the correspondence printed by Tnttle in his Captain 
John Mason ; Publications of the Prince Society. 



pany out of an association of adventurers living in the CHAP, 
neighborhood of Dorchester, England, who in 1628 founded ^^ ^' 
a fishing-station at Cape Ann, has been many times told. 
But it has not been brought into proper connection with 
other related phenomena. The enterprise of the Dorchester 
fishermen was similar to those started by many others 
along the New England coast, those of Plymouth included.^ 
But in addition to fishing the Dorchester adventurers sent 
over enough spare men to build rude dwellings, plant com, 
and secure other provisions in quantity sufficient to keep 
them through the winter. During the fishing season they 
cooperated with the crews in securing the catch. Fresh food 
was also supplied by them to the crews^ Thus it was hoped 
that a colony would be planted, by means of which the 
fishing and trading enterprise would be strengthened. 
Finding the Plymouth people already fishing and trading at 
Cape Ann under an indenture from Lord Sheffield, the Dor- 
chester men duly secured their permit for the settlement, 
and Roger Conant was appointed manager or governor. 
Mr. Lyf ord is said to have been invited to be the minister of 
the colony, and John Oldham to trade for them with the 
Indians. The last two, however, had been expelled from 
Plymouth. But, as was frequently the case, the depar- 
ture of the ships which were sent by the associates from 
England was not well timed. They arrived too late for the 
fishing season on the New England coast. In two cases this 
mistakavwas caused by delays resulting from defective repairs 
of the vessels. One of the failures was more than made good by 
a successful catch off Newfoundland, but the profits expected 
from this were in turn lost as a result of the outbreak of war 
between England and Spain in 1625, and the inability of the 
adventurers to successfully market their cargo in France. 
It was also found that fishermen did not make good husband- 
men, and hence that the attempt to found a colony did not 
succeed. These causes combined to involve these adven- 
turers in debt, and to lead them in 1626 to abandon the 

1 The Planter's Flea, by Rev. John White, Force, Tracts, n ; Hubbard, 
History of New England, 2 Mass. Hist. Colls. V. 102 ; Thornton, The Landing 
at Cape Ann. 

VOL. I — K 


PART enterprise. But fortunately a few of the settlers, among 
^ them Roger Conant, were left behind at Cape Ann to care 
for the cattle through the approaching winter. Some also 
of the adventurers were unwilling to abandon the enterprise, 
and conferred with friends in London respecting its prosecu- 
tion. The lead in this negotiation, if not in the earlier stages 
of the work, was taken by the Rev, John White, of Dor- 
chester, a clergyman of the established church, but with a 
strong leaning toward Puritanism and a wide acquaintance 
among those who held that type of opinion. He congratu- 
lated himself much on winning the support of his parishioner 
John Endicott for the enterprise. Meantime Conant and 
his friends, dissatisfied with the location at Cape Ann, 
removed to Naumkeag, a short distance to the west. One 
of their number was sent to England for supplies. 

In March, 1628, the adventurers secured a patent from the 
New England council for the territory within the bounds 
already stated. With this land governmental powers in the 
full and proper sense of the term were not and could not be 
bestowed. Neither were the grantees ^ incorporated, but the 
grant was made expressly to them, "their heirs and assigns." 
They were made tenants, like any body of proprietors, though, 
according to the provision of this indenture, they held not of 
the New England council, but of the crown. Apparently, 
then, the council, in obedience to the statute Quia Umptores^ 
resigned all its rights of soil and jurisdiction, and left the 
patentees face to face with the king.^ Indeed, it may be 

1 The names of the grantees were Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Yonng, 
Thomas Southcott, John Humfrey, John Endicott, and Symon Whitcombe. 
Of these Uumfrey, son-in-law of the Earl of Lincoln, was the only one known 
to have been connected with the earlier fishing enterprise. 

< That this grant was not wholly regular is indicated by the fact that 
within its boonds was included the territory which the New England council 
had granted to Robert Gorges in 1622. Tears after, Sir Ferdinando Grorges 
wrote in his Briefe Narration that, when the Earl of Warwick requested his 
consent to the issue of the patent to Sir Henry Roswell and his associates, 
he gave it *^ so far forth as it might not be prejudioiall ** to the interests of 
his son, Robert Grorges. But apparently those interests were in no way 
regarded. Baxter, Gorges, II. 51, 69. 

The Massachusetts company, however, had been advised that^the grant of 
Robert Gorges was void in law. Recs. L 389. 



supposed that at the time the grantees considered this inden- CHAP, 
ture only as a means of extinguishing the territorial rights 
of the council, preliminary to the securing of a charter from 
the crown. A year later the patentees took advantage of 
their right to associate others with themselves. A number 
of east-of-England men, among them Sir Richard Saltonstall, 
Matthew Cradock, Isaac Johnson, George Howard, Increase 
Nowell, Richard Bellingham, Samuel Vassall, Theophilus 
Eaton, and William Pynchon, became interested in the en- 
terprise. These men, whether conversant with the London 
company or not, were at least in political sympathy with 
Sir Edwin Sandys and his party in that corporation. 
The result of the impulse which they gave was the pro- 
curing of a royal charter in March, 1629, confirming the 
grant of territory already made and adding thereto full 
corporate and governmental rights. 

It should be noticed that the company of Massachusetts 
Bay in New England, which was created by this grant, was 
modelled after the London company organized twenty years 
before. Provision was made in the charter for a general 
court, which should meet four times a year during the law 
terms, and the Easter session of which should be called the 
court of election. Provision was also made for a governor, 
deputy governor, and board of eighteen assistants, all of 
whom should be chosen by the general court. They had 
powers corresponding to those of the treasurer, his deputy, 
and the council in the London company. In the Massachu- 
setts board of assistants we find no suggestion whatever of a 
royal council, showing that the old combination of 1606 had 
been entirely outgrown, and that the way had been cleared 
for the exercise of royal control directly through the privy 
council or a board of commissioners closely affiliated there- 
with. The governor, deputy, and assistants were also 
empowered to meet monthly in a court ^ which in function 
corresponded with the ordinary court of the London company. 
In one respect, however, the assistants of the Massachusetts 
company had a position different from, that of the council in 

1 For the doings of such courts of assistants, while the company was resi- 
dent in England, see Mass. Col. Recs. L 42-44. 


PART the London corporation under the charter of 1612; six of 
^ J them, with the governor or deputy governor, constituted a 
quorum of the general court, and therefore, according to the 
common law, must be present whenever business was trans- 
acted. Thus the Massachusetts assistants had in the legis- 
lative body a distinct place, which did not belong to the 
Virginia council. All the customary powers were to be 
exercised by the general court, either directly or through the 
machinery thus provided. Less elaboration was necessary 
than in the case of the London company, because the member- 
ship ^ of the corporation was by no means as large, and much 
less business was done. Still we find that the Massachusetts 
men had their auditors, secretary, treasurer, and special 
committees. Finally, to the general court of the Massachu- 
setts company, as to that of its progenitor, the power to 
increase the membership of the body was given. The word 
^^ freemen" also made its appearance in the Massachusetts 
charter as the designation of the members, whereas in the 
earlier patents for colonization the terms ^^ associates " and 
"adventurers" had been commonly used. — 

During that period of the history of the Massachusetts 
patentees, under the indenture of 1628 and the charter of 
1629, with which we are now concerned, they, like the Lon- 
don company, were the joint proprietors of a plantation, the 
same in external type as those which have already been 
described. As soon as the indenture was procured, John 
Endicott was appointed governor of the plantation and was 
sent out with a small body of colonists. He superseded 
Conant, and permanently established the settlement at 
Naumkeag, which was now called Salem. Meantime Mat- 
thew Cradock was appointed governor of the company in 
England. From a letter of his to Endicott, which contains 
a number of instructions, we learn that one ship had been 
bought and two others had been hired by the company. 
These, with possibly a third, would soon sail for the colony, 

1 The total membership of the Massachusetts company was 110, and these 
Included no livery companies and no individuals above the rank of knight. 
See S. F. Haven, Introduction to the. Records of the Massachusetts Company, 
Archaeologia Americana, UL 134 et seq. 




carrying between two hundred and three hundred persons CHAP, 
respectively, and one hundred head of cattle. Endicott was ^' 
desired to provide shelter for these new arrivals, and to send 
the vessels promptly back laden with fish or lumber, with 
sassafras, sarsaparilla root, j»umacfa, silk-grass, and ^^ aught 
else that may be useful for dyeing or in ph ysic ." He was jdso 
desired to keep a watchful eye on the company's servants 
that they might not only lead moral lives, but make a favor- 
able impression on the natives. The massacre in Virginia 
had certainly made a strong impression, for Endicott was 
warned to learn, by the mistakes of that colony, not to be 
too confident of the fidelity of the savages. The coming 
change in the objects of the colonizing scheme was, however, 
indicated not merely by the statement that the company 
intended to send over two ministers, but by the emphasis 
which was laid on this as the "work of the Lord." OnCv 
would scarce expect to find such an expression as that in ^ 
the letters or records of the London company, but it fre- 
quently occurs from the outset in the communications of the 
Massachusetts patentees. 

The records of the company open with a variety of entries 
relating to the outfit of the vessels just referred to, which 
sailed for the colony in the spring of 1629. Seeds, roots,,provi- 
sions, cooking utensils, clothing and arms for one hundred men 
were to be sent. The question of procuring various artisans 
for the plantations, as an ironmaster, an engineer and sur- 
veyor^ an armorer, a carpenter, a fisherman, was coqaidered. 
Plans were discussed for the production of salt. The con- 
tract with Thomas Graves, who undertook to «grve the com- 
pany in the discovery of mines, care of forts, surveying of 
land, building of dams and sluiceways, and manufacturing, 
has been preserved. It provided that, if he remained only 
a year, the cost of his transportation to and from the colony 
and his support, clothing excepted, while there should be 
borne by the company, and that he should be paid £5 per 
month while in New England. If he remained three years, 
his family should be brought into the colony at the ex- 
pense of the company, a house should be built, and one 
hundred acres of land assigned for his use, and his wages 


PART should be £50 per year.^ Contracts were also made with 
J a surgeon, physician, and three ministers. The Revs. 
Francis Higginson, Samuel Skelton, and Francis Bright 
undertook "to do their true endeaver ... as well in 
preaching, catechising, as also in teaching, or causing to be 
taught the company's servants and their children, as also 
the savages and their children." They with their families 
were sent on the company's ships ; land and houses were 
provided, and they received a yearly stipend. 

Provision was made that Conant and his men, who were 
known as the " old planters," should continue to enjoy their 
lands, be admitted as planters, and have a share in the common 
stock. But the raising of tobacco, to which they had com- 
mitted themselves, was not encouraged by the company and 
soon was actually prohibited. The reason for this was not 
only the declining price of the commodity in the European 
market, but objections to its use. Its sale or use by any 
servants in the colony, except in limited quantities as a drug, 
was prohibited. A considerable number of servants were 
employed by the company, and directions for their man- 
agement occupy a prominent place in the instructions to 
Endicott. They were to be distributed into families under 
competent religious overseers who should keep registers of 
the work they did. Strict supervision should be kept over 
their conduct, and corporal punishment ,or confinement in 
the house of correction inflicted when necessary. Drones 
should not be tolerated. "Our desire is to use lenity all 
that may be, but in case of necessity not to neglect the 
other, knowing that correction is for the fool's back." 
Swearing and disorders of all kinds, among the free planters 
as well as the servants, were to be promptly punished. 

From the instructions of the company it may be seen that 
fishing was still prosecuted as a common enterprise, for ref- 
erences occur to the sending of supplies to the fishermen, to 
the building of a storehouse where their tools and implements 
might be kept, and to the freighting of vessels with fish 
for their homeward voyages. Supplies for the building of 
small vessels were sent to Salem. The manufacture of salt 

1 Mass. Recs. I. 32. •- 


was of importance to the colony chiefly because of its use- CHAP, 
fulness in this industry. But with the transfer of the ^ ^' 
settlement to Salem and the increase in the number of col- 
onists, agriculture attained predominant importance. It 
was a principle with this company, as with the London 
patentees, that Indian claims should be extinguished by v 
some form of purchase, and this ever continued to be their ^ 
rule of action. For a time after the grant of the royal char- 
ter, John Oldham, one of the assignees under the Robert 
Gorges patent, gave the company much annoyance by his 
insistence that he should have the management of the com- 
mon stock, and with others should have the right of free trade 
with the Indians. Free trade with the natives was not allowed 
to any of the planters, while Oldham's self-will and his con- 
nection with the Gorges interest convinced the Massachu- 
setts company that he was ^'a man altogether unfit for us 
to deal with." Therefore he was left to his own course, 
and Endicott was warned to settle the agreement with the 
'* old planters," and to beware how he meddled with Oldham. 
In order to checkmate any move which the Gorges interest 
might make, planters were soon despatched southward, and 
possession was taken of the region which later became 

The system of joint land-holding was not instituted at 
Salem. The planters were under no contract which required 
it, and in the summer of 1629 an instruction^ was sent to 
Endicott to allot to the adventurers in the proportion of two 
acres for each sum of <£50, or fraction or multiple thereof, 
which was invested in the enterprise. The grantees were 
given the liberty to build and improve where they pleased, 
except that a tract should be reserved for a town. A town 
lot one-half acre in extent should also be granted to each 
adventurer who desired it. Planters who had also purchased 
shares in the common stock should receive fifty acres for 
each person in their families, while persons other than 
adventurers who brought families at their own expense into 
the colony should receive fifty acres for the master of the 
family and such additional allotments as, *^ according to their 

^Maas. Bees. Li3. 



PART charge and quality," might be provided through special 
^ agreement with the company or by the magpistrates in the 
colony. Those who brought or at their own charge sent 
servants into the colony should receive fifty acres for each 
of them. No mention is made in the records of the require- 
ment of a quitrent on any of the grants to adventurers, but 
those who were not such must annually render some suit or 
service. In case planters should come in groups and desire 
to settle together, their wish in that respect should be grati- 
fied. Provision was made in the scheme for private planta- 
tions, and Matthew Cradock, the governor of the company, 
was a large investor in one of these. Reference is frequently 
made to the despatch of servants, supplies, cattle, material 
for ship-building and fishing on his account. On some vessels 
he sent nearly as much as went on the company's ^ account. 
As we have already noticed, the company also had its plan- 
tations, which were cultivated by servants and managed by 
the governor under instructions from England. It thus 
appears that, before it had been in existence a year, the 
colony at Salem reached the stage of development which 
was inaugurated in Virginia by Governor Dale. 

Finally, by action of the company, at the close of April, 
1629, John Endicott was elected governor of the colony for 
the ensuing year, and provision was made for a council of 
thirteen to assist him in its government. Of these seven, 
including the three ministers, were chosen by the company, 
while it was ordered that the old planters might choose 
two more, and the governor and council itself complete 
the number by appointment. The governor and council 
should also select a deputy governor, while a secretary 
and such other officers as were deemed necessary for the 
government of the colony should be designated by them. 
Having taken oaths of office, they should meet, the gov- 
ernor or deputy governor always being present, and, guided 
by instructions, should exercise within the colony the pow- 
ers of government which the company had received from 
the crown. The term of office for all magistrates should 
be one year. 

1 Maas. RecB. I. 402. 




Thus the structure of Massachusetts as a proprietary prov- chap. 
ince, in which the company so managed its estate as to secure ^ ^' j 
a profit therefrom, was completed. That a special religious 
element, akin to that of Plymouth and manifest in no other 
plantation, was already beginning to show itself at Salem, ^ 

will be seen in a later chapter. 







At the beginning and for the purpose of comparison, it is CHAP. 
necessary again to call attention to two leading character- 
istics of the colonies which have thus far been described. 
In the first place, they were founded and managed chiefly >^. 
for profit, and thus assumed the form of plantations. 
Though at the outset mines were sought, that soon became ^ 
a subsidiary object, and agriculture, trade, and fishing com- 
manded the chief attention. The management of the land, 
the administration of the stock employed in trade and fish- 
ing, suggest the topics of greatest interest and importance 
in the study of colonies of this type. The reason for this 
is that the colonies here referred to were passing through 
the early stages of settlement, and that while in this con- 
dition they were under the control of parties who had 
undertaken to develop them as an investment. 

In the second place, these colonies were managed by pro- 
prietors, trading companies, and land companies, that were ^ 
resident in England. From them came financial support, 
food, tools, cattle, and other supplies in considerable variety, 
without which the plantations could not have secured their 
start. Officials, authority to do and restrain, direction as to 
the course and form which the colony should take, all came 
from the same source. That too was a distant source, where 
misapprehension and indiflference were likely to prevail. 
Because of their remoteness from one another the com- ^ 
pany and colony were essentially distinct. The colonists 
in no sense enjoyed rights of self-government. They were 
to a large extent indented servants, and were subject to the 



PART rigid control of their overseers. Whether free or unfree 

^^* tenants, they were under an authority of three grades : that 

of their magistrates, of the proprietors, aifd of the king, for 
the monarch himself might possibly interfere to change the 
policy of the company, or the terms of its charter, or to 
remove it out of the way altogether. The experience of the 
London company, as well as that of many others which were 
trading and colonizing elsewhere than on the American 
continent, showed that the possibility of this was always 
present. The risk of loss and disaster in such enterprises 
was also great, and events of this nature might terminate the 
^ existence of the company. Such considerations as these will 
help to explain the revolutionary step taken by the Massachu- 
setts patentees, the character and results of which must now 
be described. 

It is important to notice in this connection that the model 
chosen for imitation by the Massachusetts patentees was the 
London company. That was an open, not a closed, body ; 
the significance of that expression being that its member- 
ship could be indefinitely increased. If, as was not im- 
probable, the Massachusetts patentees had^thought before- 
hand of expanding their corporation into a colony, they 
^could not have taken the New England council as their 
model. There was no need of adopting or devising a third 
form of corporation, had that been possible, for the London 
system gave them what they wanted. It was chosen and 
readjusted by those who within a few months came into con- 
trol of the corporation, so as to give form to a colony which 
was not only independent of proprietors, but, so far as pos- 
sible, of the home government itself. The readjustment was 
effected by the transfer of the governing body of the corpora- 
tion — its governor and assistants — into the colony which it 
was creating. This removal was a fact of the greatest 
importance, not only in the history of New England, but in 
the development of modern social and governmental forms, 
and as such it is worthy of detailed study. 

That a transaction of this kind was considered possible by 
some of the patentees when the royal charter of 1629 was 
procured, is indicated, though not fully established, by con- 




temporary evidence. Thomas Dudley ^ states that as early CHAP. 

as 1627 the project of planting the gospel in New England ^^ ^' 

was under discussion among the Puritans of Lincolnshire, 
and that, by letters and messages, they imparted their views 
to ** some in London and the west country." The proposi- 
, tion was considered, and by means of it a connection was 
established between the Puritans of the east counties and 
those who had been interested in the fishing enterprise at 
Cape Ann. At length, " with often negotiation," the busi- 
ness was so ripened, that the royal charter was procured. 
John Winthrop, at a much later date though in most direct 
and authoritative terms,* stated that it was intended " to keep 
the chief government in the hands of the company residing 
in England," as had been provided in the charters of Vir- 
ginia and the Bermudas. This part of the statement is 
confirmed by the docket attached to the "King's bill," in 
which the provisions of the patent were outlined. It 
mentions the existence in the document of " clauses for the 
election of governors and officers here in England," and 
states that such privileges were bestowed as "are usuallie 
allowed to corporations in England."* 

But in the charter as it passed the great seal are no words ^ 
which necessitate the residence of the corporation in Eng- "^ 
land. Winthrop, in the passage just cited, explains this 
omission of the usual clause necessitating residence in Eng- 
land, by the statement that " with much difficulty we got it 
abscinded." So effectually were legal obstacles to removal 
eliminated from the charter, that chief justices Rainsford 
and North, in an opinion which they delivered in the reign 
of Charles II, interpreting the words "in New England" 
which occur in the corporate name, declared that the com- 
pany was created a corporation on the place. And yet, 
for a year after the issue of the charter the corpora- 
tion was actually resident in England and there transacted 

1 Letter to the Countess of Lincoln, Young, Chronicles of Massachusetts, 

s Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop, II. 443. 

* Deane, Forms used in issuing Letters-patent, Proceedings of the Mass. 
Hist Soc., 1800^-1870, 173. 


PART its business. During that time conditions were ripening 
^ which led to removal, though not tiU five months after the 
issue of the charter was the project mentioned in the general 
court. The history of the company, therefore, shows that it 
became established in New England as the result rather of 
removal than of original creation. 

The Puritans of New England, at least that gfroup among 
them which became interested in the Massachusetts colony, 
regarded the prospect before the reformed churches in 
Europe in 1629 as gloomy in the extreme. The victories 
of the imperial forces in the Thirty Years' War and the 
defeat of the Huguenot party in France seemed to involve 
the permanent triumph of the reactionist cause. In England 
Charles I had dissolved his third parliament in anger and 
had entered upon a regime of personal government, a lead- 
ing feature of which was an ecclesiastical policy that met 
with the full approval of the bishops of the Anglo-Catholic 
party. In a little more than two months after the dissolu- 
tion of parliament John Winthrop wrote to his wife, " I am 
veryly persuaded God will bring some heavye Affliction upon 
this land and that speedylye." To him times seemed growing 
worse and worse. All the other churches had been smitten, 
and had been made to drink the cup of tribulation even unto 
death. England had seen this, but had not turned from its 
evil ways, and "therefore he is tuminge the Cuppe towards 
us also, & because we are the last, our portion must be to 
drink the verye dreges which remaine." 

Soon after this Winthrop lost his position ^ as attorney be- 
fore the court of wards, and was able to return to his home 
in Suffolk for a period of greater leisure. Not far from this 
time a paper was prepared entitled, "Reasons to be con- 
sidered for justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plan- 
tation in New England," of which there is strong evidence 
that Winthrop was the author.* In this the evil conditions 
existing in England, including the alleged social and moral 
decline of the common people which occupies so prominent 
a place in the writings of those interested in colonization, 
are described, and removal to a new continent is urged as a 

1 Winthrop, Life and Letters, I, 206, 208, 301. ^ Ibid. 300. 


way of escape which has the divine approval. " The whole CHAP, 
earth is the Lords garden and He hath given it' to the sonnes 
of men with a general Commission, Gen. i. 28, ^ increace and 
multiplie and replenish the earth and subdue it.' Why 
then should we stand here striving for places of habitation, 
... & in the mean time suffer a whole continent, as fruit- 
ful & convenient for the use of man, to lie waste without 
any improvement?" The ill success of Virginia should 
/not deter those who are interested in the undertaking, for 
the projectors of that colony committed the fundamental 
error of pursuing an object that was " casual and not reli- 
gious," of using "unfit instruments" — a multitude of rude 
persons, the scum of the land — and of not establishing " a 
right form of government." The Massachusetts patentees 
in their letters to Endicott had laid g^at stress on the con- 
version and education of the Indians, but the authors of 
this paper speak of the enterprise as the founding of a 
** church," of "a particular church," which is the "work 
of God," to be used for the increase of religious faith and 
the removal of " the scandal of worldly and sinister respects 
which is cast upon the adventurers." These expressions 
indicate a desire to make religious objects and motives con- 
trolling within the Massachusetts company. The several 
versions of this paper which have been preserved, as well as 
references to it, show that it was circulated among the 
Massachusetts patentees and their friends. 

The earliest reference to the matter in the general court 
of the company was made on July 28,^ when the governor, 
Mr. Cradock, read a certain proposal to the effect that, for 
the advancement of the plantation and the encouragement of 
"persons of worth and quality" to remove themselves and 
families thither, the government of the plantation should be 
transferred to those that shall inhabit there, and " not t« con- 
tinue the same in subordination to the Company here, as it now 
is." After some debate, and a resolve that the members 
present should seriously consider the question in private, 
noting the reasons for and against it and report the same at 
the next general court, the company adjourned for a month. 

^ Mass. Col. Bees. I. 49. 

VOL. I — L 


PART Near the close of that interval Winthrop by invitation 
met a number of the patentees at Cambridge, and a common 
agreement ^ was reached and reduced to writing. It was to 
the effect that the signers, with their families and with such 

, supplies as they could conveniently carry, would be ready 
to embark for New England by the first of the following 
March. > But the condition of their going must be that, by 
order of the company, the government and patent should be 
removed into the colony, there to permanently remain. 
Among the signers of this, besides Winthrop, were Salton- 
stall, Dudley, Johnson, Humphrey, Nowell, and Pynchon. 

At the next meeting of the general court,* which occurred 
on August 28, two days after the agreement was signed at 
Cambridge, preparations were made for a debate on the 
question of removal. The debate was held on the 29th, and 
at its close, by a practically unanimous vote, it was agreed 
to transfer the patent and government to New England. 

^ Among the members of a committee appointed at the meet- 
ing of September 19 the name of John Winthrop appears, 
though the first general court which he attended was that 
of the 16th of October. At the time when Winthrop 
joined the company one of its committees ^ was taking the 
advice of counsel as to the legality of the course they had re- 
solved upon. It was also considering the proper time for the 
removal, how the affairs of the company should be arranged 
so that its interests in England might be properly safe- 
guarded, and to whom as governor and magistrates the for- 
tunes of the company should be intrusted during the crisis 
of its removal. To the last of these questions an answer 
was given on October 20 by the election * of Winthrop as 
governor of the company and colony. Humphrey was chosen 
deputy governor, and the full number of eighteen assistants 
was elected, among the list of whom appear the names of 
nearly all who signed the agreement at Cambridge. 

Later, when the time of departure actually came, those 
of the assistants who decided to remain in England resigned 
their places, and, so far as possible, the vacancies were filled 

1 Young, Chronicles of MassacbuBetts, 281. * Ibid. 62. 

3 Mass. Col. Recs. L 60. « Ibid, 69. 


from among those who were ready to embark. Under the CHAP 

circumstances, however, it was not possible to fill aU the ^^ \ 

eighteen places required by the charter. John Humphrey, 
having resolved to stay behind in England, resigned his 
oflSce of deputy governor, and Thomas Dudley was chosen 
in his place. This was the only business done at the last 
cotirt of assistants which met in England, the session being 
held on board the ship Arbella^ one of the company's vessels, 
March 23 (O.S.), 1629-30. The first session of the court 
in New England was held at Charlestown, August 23, 1630, 
somewhat more than two months after the landing at Salem 
of Winthrop and his immediate companions. Seventeen 
vessels in all came over that year under the auspices of the 
Massachusetts company, bringing about a thousand colonists 
with their supplies. Although only a part of the patentees 
ever emigrated, no further sessions of the general court were 
held in England. It met for the first time in Massachu- 
setts, October 19, 1630.^ The removal of the company's 
charter into Massachusetts .was a -matter of slight impor- 
tance; the significant fact was that the governor, the 
deputy governor, and assistants, with enough of the paten- 
tees to constitute a general court, came over. The govem- 
ing b ody of the company was thus removed i nto the colony.^ 
But before referring to the changes which took place in its 
organization and in the motives which underlay its later 
action, we must note how the business affairs of the com- 
pany were settled. 

When the removal into New England was decided upon, 
the company was in debt to the amount of JC2500, while 
.£1500 were needed for immediate disbursement.^ It was 
suggested that the need of the hour might be met in one 
of three way;3. Apparently on the supposition that the 
business side of the enterprise was to be continued and was 
to remain, as formerly, under the management of the com- 
pany, it was proposed that the adventurers should double 
their subscriptions. On the other hand, with the view that 
the cfompany should at once go out of business, it was pro- 
posed that, all its assets, save land, should be sold, and the 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. I. 79. * Ibid. ^, 63. 


PART subscribers to the joint stock be paid the proportions which 
. should accrue to them from the sale. 

The third proposition was a compromise between the other « 
two, and suggested the creation of a temporary trusteeship. \ 
It was the one adopted. At a meeting of the company, held ' 
November 30, 1629, a board of ten, called undertakers and 
made up equally of planters and adventurers, was chosen to 
take charge for seven years of the joint stock. They were 
to assume both the assets and liabilities of the company, 
and were guaranteed five per cent net profit on the business 
done. They were to receive half the profits of the fur trade 
with the colony ; and were assured a monopoly of salt-mak- 
ing, of the transportation of passengers and goods to and 
from the colony, and of furnishing the colonial magazine at 
fixed rates. ^ They were also to receive subscriptions to the 
common stock from such as might choose to invest, and on 
such terms as they, as managers, might determine. A treas- 
urer was chosen to receive, care for, and disburse all- funds, 
and Governor Winthrop was made the head of the board. 
The undertakers provided vessels for the transportation of 
those who went with Winthrop, and possibly for a time 
thereafter ; but to their subsequent activity, along this or 
' any other line mentioned in the contract, we find almost nA* ' 
reference in the printed authorities. The settlement of the 
Dutch on the Connecticut and the Hudson, the preoccupa- 
tion of the Kennebec by Plymouth and of the Piscataqua by 
John Mason and his associates, prevented Massachusetts from 
absorbing a large part of the fur trade of New England. 
Such trade of this nature as there was appears to have been 
carried on by individuals or associations under conditions 
prescribed by the general court ; * but of connection of the 
undertakers with it no evidence has been found. 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. I. 62 et seq, 

2 Ibid. I, 88, 93, 96, 179, 208, 322 ; IL 44, 83, 86, 110, 138 ; IIL 162. In 
the Body of Liberties of 1641 there was no provision coDceming Indian trade ; 
but in the Laws and Liberties of 1649, as issued in 1660, appear acts for its 
regulation. One of these declares that ** the trade of furrs with the Indians 
in this Jurisdiction doth properly belong to this Common-wealth, and not 
unto particular persons.** See Whitmore*s edition of the Colonial Laws of 
Massachusetts (1889), 161, 242. The votes of the general court concerning 


The meagfre references in the Records and other contem- CHAP, 
porary authorities to the salt industry show that it was not ^ 
of sufficient importance to demand much regulation,^ and 
not the slightest trace of its being carried on by the under- 
takers appears. The part played by the magazine in the 
trade system of Massachusetts must also have been slight, 
for neitiier in the writings of Winthrop nor in the minutes 
of the company have we any account of its existence in the 
colony subsequent to 1630.^ In fact, immediately after 
Winthrop's arrival in Massachusetts, he was forced to send 
back to Bristol by John Pierce and Isaac AUerton of Plym- 
outh for a supply of provisions.^ Early the following sum^.. • 
mer AUerton arrived in the White Angel with livestock and 
provisions for both Massachusetts and Plymouth.^ 

Private trading appears soon to have become the rule in 
the Bay colony. Of the undertakers who were expected to 
take up their residence in New England, Isaac Johnson soon 
died, while John Revell returned to England.^ This left 
Winthrop and Dudley in Massachusetts as the only survivors 
of the board from whom active participation in its workV 
might be expected. But in Winthrop's correspondence, as 
preserved, the only references to business transactions with 
the undertakers in England concern payment for the ships 
which brought over the emigrants of 1630.* With Samuel 
Aldersey, who, as treasurer of the company when Winthrop 
left England, was to care for the moneys of the "joint 
stock " 7 and pay them out upon warrants under the bonds 

this trade, and the licenses it granted for its prosecution, show how this 
principle was applied in practice. 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. I. 331 ; II. 229. These references show that, whUe per- 
mission to experiment with new processes of manafacture was obtained from 
the general court, freedom to produce this commodity was enjoyed by all the 
inhabitants of the colony. 

3 Of the existence of a magazine previous to that time there is abundant 
evidence. Recs. I. 393, etc. 

* Winthrop, History of New England, Savage*s Edition, 1863, 1. 448. This 
will also be referred to as Winthrop*s Journal. 

* Ibid. I. 69. 
ft Toung, Chronicles of Massachusetts, 816, 317, 836 ; Winthrop, I. 461. 

* Winthrop, 448 et seq. 
7 Mass. Col. Recs. L 66. 


PABT of the undertakers, or any three of them, he apparently 
did not correspond at all.^ In his Letter to the Countess of 
Lincoln Thomas Dudley said^ that the loss of the livestock 
which had died on the outward voyage, the failure to send a 
supply of the same from Ireland, and the delay in building, 
** weakened our estates, especially the estates of the under- 
takers, who were 3 or £4000 engaged in the joint stock, 
which was now not above so many hundreds." Still, in 
1634, a committee, most if not all of whom were patentees 
resident in England, was appointed to choose from among 
themselves one to be treasurer for a year "for this planta- 
^fciQp ^' and to grant a full discharge to the existing treasurer ; 
and* lit**kJ38 George Harwood, the treasurer, was requested 
to present his Itecouht.- . These* entries indicate that com- 
mercial relations 6^ some sorx weietfigp ^uiumber of years 
kept up with adventurers resident in fingland, but not 
with the undertakers as such. The hints which have been 
preserved concerning such relations do not seriously modify \ 
the conclusion that by the close of 1630 the joint stock or 
purely commercial element in the Massachusetts enterprise 
had practically disappeared. It was decided that henceforth 
that company should not directly engage in trade, but should 
confine itself to regulating it. With the removal of the 
patentees into the colony, they began to devote themselves to 
the work of settlement and government. Trade continued 
and expanded, but it was in private hands, subject to the 
legislative and administrative control of the colonial gov- 

An analogous change was wrought in the land system of 
the colony at the time of the transfer of the government to 
Massachusetts. After Winthrop's arrival, as will be shown 
in detail in a later chapter, the corporation acted no longer 
in the capacity of a land company, it no longer sought to 
obtain a profit from its domain. Instead, the township sys- 
tem developed, as was occurring under similar conditions 
in Plymouth. This means that, owing to the circum- 

^ Daring the first year of Winthrop's residence in Massachusetts his son 
Jolin was his business correspondent in England. 
9 Toung, Chronicles, 821. 


stances attending the migration and settlement, the colonists 
established themselves in detached groups about Massachu- 
setts bay. Sickness, which Winthrop on his arriyal found 
prevailing at Salem, caused him to seek a place of settlement 
elsewhere. The lack of food caused by the sickness and by 
the arrival of so many new colonists forced the liberation of 
180 servants, and so broke up completely the system of culti- 
vating the company's land by means of them. Owing to 
the outbreak of sickness among the newcomers, it became 
necessary to abandon the project, characteristic of coloniza- 
tion thus far, of building a fortified town some distance 
inland. The variety of the coast, with the rivers which flow 
into Massachusetts bay, offered several attractive places for 
settlement, at one of which Cradock's plantation was estab- 
lished. Therefore Winthrop and his associates yielded at 
once to the natural course of events, and seven different 
settlements immediately sprang into existence about the bay.^ 
The removal of the seat of the colonial government from 
Salem ^ rifia^jestown caused Salem to appear distinctly 
as a town. Charlestown had enjoyed a separate existence 
for a brief time before it became the temporary residence 
of the governor and other magistrates. As the result of a 
second removal, Boston became both a town and the perma- 
nent place of residence of the colonial authorities. These 
and the other early settlements were established without ex- 
press authorization from the general court, but soon the 
court began to name them * and to provide for fixing their 
boundaries. Constables were also appointed,® and other pro- 
vision was made for the exercise within them of local powers, 
subject to control by the colonial government.* For our 
purpose the important point is that the towns as communi- 
ties became the chief grantees of the company's land. After 
the town had been established and its limits fixed, those of 
its inhabitants who were the direct objects of the grant be- 
came the proprietors of the land within its bounds, and 
either held and managed it as common or disposed of it to 
individuals. The colony as such made no effort to secure a 

1 Young, Chronicles, 313. « Ibid. I. 76, 79. 

« Bees. I. 76, 94, 127. * Ibid. I. 167, 172. 



PART territorial revenue; it did not establish a land office or a 
^' system of quitrents. Thus one of the most characteristic 
features of the provincial system was lacking. In the towns, 
even when the commons were divided or when grants were 
>x^>v occasionally made to individuals, the land was not often sold 
or leased. Rent only occasionally appeared, and in no sense 
did it form a characteristic element of the system. At the 
same time all titles derived their validity from some prior 
grant of the general court. 

We have now seen what was the policy of the corporation 
of Massachusetts bay concerning trade and land. In form, 
at least, the corporation was created to be a land and trad- 
ing company. But it was not the intention of its founders 
that it should chiefly pursue those lines of enterprise. In 
fact, after the removal of the corporation into Massachusetts, 
a form of organization was assumed which was incompatible 
with the direct cultivation of land and prosecution of trade. 
\ This may be regarded as the negative result of the process 

\we are describing. "*• — -.. 

• *J2L The transition from the colonial or trading corporation to 
the corporate colony will appear most clearly when we notice 
the change which it wrought in the character of the freemen. 
But in order to understand the ideal from which that sprang, 
reference should first be made to Winthrop's Modell of 
Ohristian Charity^ a sort of sermon, or meditation on Chris- 
tian love, which he wrote during the voyage from England. 
The suggestive part of the discourse is the application of its 
thought to the problem before the colonists of Massachusetts. 
In the view of the writer, the work upon which they had ? 
entered was one of peculiar importance. Instead of under- \^ 
taking to found a colony for profit or in order that thereby , 
the power and dominions of the English crown might be \ 
increased, they, by mutual consent and with the special -^ 
approval of true Christian churches, were seeking a place 
where they could live together under " a due form of govern- 
ment both civil and ecclesiastical." Not only must they do^' \ 
that to which they were accustomed when they lived in 
England, but more. They must not only profess, but live, 

1 3 Colls, of Mass. Hist. Soc. VII. 33. 



Christianity. They must learn to bear one another's bur- CHAP, 
dens, and be united by such strong social bonds that " the ^ 
care of the public " would " oversway all private respects.*' 
The object of the enterprise, in short, was " the comfort and 
increase of the body of Christ, whereof we are all members.*' 
" Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are en- 
tered into a covenant with Him for this work.^ We have 
taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to 
draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise 
these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We 
have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now 
if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to 
the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and 
sealed our commission, and will effect a strict performance 
of the articles contained in it : but if we shall neglect the 
observation of these articles which are the ends we have pro- 
pounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to em- 
brace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, 
seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the 
Lord will surely break out in wrath against us ; be revenged 
of such a sinful people, and make us know the price of the 
breach of such a covenant." 

This was the thought, clearly grasped by the leaders, and 
by many of their less prominent associates, which from the 
outset had strongly influenced the Massachusetts enterprise, 
and which now suddenly transformed it and gave rise to a 
colony of a peculiar religious and political type. 

For some months after the arrival of Winthrop and his 
followers, the magistrates constituted nearly all the members 
of the corporation who were present in Massachusetts.^ But 
at the general court, held October 19 of that year, more than 
one hundred persons, several of them old planters, applied 
for admission as freemen.* Had these been simply adven- 
turers, offering to purchase shares in a commercial enterprise 
or to move into a dependent colony and take up land there, 
they would have been welcomed. Instead, we find the 
Massachusetts authorities hesitating. They seem to be cast- 
ing about for means to save their enterprise from being 

1 Palfrey, History of New England, I. 323 n. « Col. Recs. I. 79. 


PART swamped. They apparently desired to ascertain the politi- 
^ cal qualifications of the would be freemen, and not their 
capacity to become good farmers or to pay for the stock for 
which they subscribed; and, as things were, their fitness 
i politically had to be determined largely by moral and reli- 
gious considerations. The magistrates first and naturally 
sought to perpetuate their power by procuring the assent of 
the settlers to an order giving to the assistants not only the 
right of choosing the governor and deputy governor, but, 
with them, of making laws and appointing the officers to 
execute them. To the freemen was left simply the power 
to elect the assistants.^ This was clearly a violation of the 
patent,^ and was so acknowledged at the next session of the 
general court. At that time. May, 1631, John Winthrop 
was reelected governor "by the general consent of the Court, 
according to the meaning of the patent " ; and by the same 
body Thomas Dudley was chosen deputy governor. If we 
seek for an explanation of this sudden return to the form 
prescribed in the charter, and the abandonment of the nar- 
row oligarchical system of the previous year, we shall prob- 
ably find it in the religious test which was established by the 
court at this session : — 

" To the end the body of the commons may be preserved of 
honest & good men, it was likewise ordered and agreed that 
for time to come no man shall be admitted to the freedome 
of this body polliticke but such as are members of some 
of the churches within the lymitts of the^ same." With 
this condition established it was safe to admit freemen ^ and 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. L 70. 

3 On April 30, 1620, the general court in England created, as we have seen, 
a subordinate government for the colony, consisting of a governor and coun- 
cil, and authorized them to pass all necessary orders for the control of the 
plantation and its inhabitants, sending copies of all such orders from time to 
time to the company in London. Recs. L 38. But this act could not serve 
as a precedent for the order of October 10, 1630, because the two referred to 
different institutions of government. The attempt to substitute the governor 
and assistants as a legislative body for the general court was distinctly incon- 
sistent with the charter. 

* Mass. Col. Recs. I. 87. Notice in this connection that the freemen are 
coming to be called *' commons '^ and ** people." 

* The list of those admitted as freemen in 1631 is in Recs. I. 366. 


to intrust to them the election of all the magistrates, together CHAP, 
with legislative power. The diflSeulty which had threatened ^ ^ j 
the enterprise the year before was thus overcome, the first 
hard question was solved. By this act more than by any 
other, except the transfer of government, was effected the 
transition from the colonial corporation to the Puritan com- ^ 
monwealth. It was done by attaching to the position of 
freeman a wholly new qualification, and as the result of the 
change he became no longer an adventurer, but an active 
citizen. C 

In May, 1632, it was voted that the governor, deputy gov- 
ernor, and assistants should be chosen in the court of election, 
and that the governor should always be selected from among 
the assistants.^ In May, 1634, the powers of the general court 
as contained in the charter were reaffirmed. It was then 
declared that it alone had power to admit freemen, to make 
laws, to elect and appoint officers, to raise money and grant 
lands. The freeman's oath of fidelity to the government, as 
established, was enacted by this court. It took the place of 
an earlier freeman's oath which apparently has not been 
preserved. If by the reference is meant an oath adminis- 
tered to members of the corporation while resident in Eng- 
land, the nature of the two was wholly different. The oath 
of 1634 provided for submission and loyalty to the " gov- 
ernment ... of this commonweale," and had reference to 
nothing but political obligations. 

The merging of the corporation in the colony, taken in 
connection with the early dispersion of settlements and in- 
crease of the number of freemen, necessitated the develop- 
ment of the deputies, the element representing the localities 
in the general court. This was a change not contemplated 
in the charter, and it resulted in the creation of a colonial 
legislature by a process quite different from that followed 
in Virginia and the later proprietary provinces. It was 
created in Massachusetts not under authority of an instruc- 
tion from the company or proprietor in England, but by the 
expansion of the general court of an open corporation when 
removed into the colony itself. 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. L 06. 



Governor Winthrop told certain representatives who 
appeared before him in 1634, "When the patent was 
granted, the number of freemen was supposed to be (as in 
like corporations) so few, as they might well join in making 
laws ; but now they were grown to so great a body, as it 
was not possible for them to make or execute laws, but they 
must choose others for that purpose." ^ 

As is well known, the deputies appeared as the immediate 
result of a protest against the narrow oligarchy established 
by the magistrates in 1630, and the levy of taxes by them 
alone. The protest of Watertown, though it was followed 
by submission, occasioned some important results. In the 
. first place, it drew from Governor Winthrop the declaration 
that, " this government was rather in the nature of a parlia- 
ment " than of a mayor and aldermen, as the objectors had 
thought.^ This is the earliest authoritative statement from 
a leader in the enterprise of a change which it was believed 
had been wrought by the transfer of government to Massa- 
chusetts. Expressed in modem scientific terms, it meant 
that by the change in the qualification of freemen the cor- 
poration had been raised from the domain of private law 
into that of public law. It was regarded as no longer in the 
r proper sense of the word a corporation, but a commonwealth. 
As a result of this development, the assistants, who, as 
Winthrop claimed, were representatives of the freemen, had 
become possessed, like members of parliament, of full dis- 
cretionary power to legislate and to levy taxes ; while the 
freemen could exercise political control over them through 
elections and the presentation of grievances. 

It is also probable that the protest from Watertown con- 
tributed to the legislation of May 9, 1632, which restored to 
the general court the right of electing the governor and 
deputy governor. It certainly caused the issue of an order 
by that court that two from every plantatioii should be 
appointed " to conf erre witli the Court about raiseing of a 

1 Winthrop, L 158. 

* Ibid, L 84. Of course, as has been shown, tbe type of corporation from 
which the corporate colony developed was not the municipality, but the trad- 
ing company. 


publique stocke."^ The language of Winthrop concerning CHAP, 
this event, and the fact that this was a court of election, leads 
to the inference that the conf errees were chosen then and there 
by the freemen who were present from the respective towns.* 
Winthrop says they were chosen " to be at the next court to 
advise with the governor and assistants about the raising of 
a public stock." 8 There is no proof, however, that the con- 
ferrees ever met. They are not mentioned again in the 
Records^ and Winthrop makes no further reference to them. 
There is, furthermore, no record of the levy of another tax 
till March 4, 1633, and that was voted by the assistants.^ 

The movement, however, though stifled for the time, wa8\ 
secretly spreading. Shortly before the meeting of the May ) 
court of 1634, representatives from each town met to con- <^j 

sider matters which were to be brought before that body.*^ ^ 
They desired to see the patent. The reply of the governor 
to them shows that they also urged the establishment of a . 
representative system. He put them off with the proposal 
that a committee of deputies from the towns should yearly 
be appointed to revise the laws and present grievances to the 
assistants, but not to make new laws. This was by no 
means satisfactory, and by the next court it was ordered^ 
that thereafter the freemen of each town might choose two 
or three representatives to prepare business for the general 
court and to act therein with full authority on their behalf 
in the making of laws, granting of lands, and doing of what- 
ever else the freemen might do, elections only excepted. 
From and after this time, the general court of Massachusetts 
consisted of the assistants and the deputies. They sat 
together in one house till 1644, though in March, 1636, as a 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. I. 06. 
a Winthrop, I. 91. 

* Winthrop^s language implies tint tiie court of assistants is here meant 
This interpretation is also necessttiled bgr all the circumstances of the case. 
The only regular session of the gomnl court at that time in Massachusetts 
was the court of election, and fhii did not meet again until May, 1633. Dur- 
ing the intervening twelvwnontti, the general court did not meet at all. 

* Recs. L 103. 

• Winthrop, I. 162, 163. 

• Recs. L 118. 



PART result of the controversy over the settlement of the river 
^^ towns of Connecticut, the legislative equality of the two 
branches was declared.^ Thus within a period of fourteen 
I years from the transfer of the government the Massachusetts 
legislature had assumed its final form. 

It always bore, however, not only in name but in char- 
acter, the marks of its origin. As in the corporation, so in 
the colony, the general court was the source of power. Says 
the act of 1684, repeatedly confirmed in later years, " It is 
hereby declared that the Greneral Court ... is the Chief 
Civil power of this Commonwealth, which onely hath power 
to raise taxes upon the whole Country, & dispose of lands, 
. . . and may act in all affairs of this Commonwealth 
according to such power, both in matters of Counsel, making 
of Lawes & matters of judicature, by impeaching & sen- 
tencing any person, or persons according to law, & by re- 
ceiving & hearing any complaints orderly presented against 
any person* or Court." 
^ Like the general court of the corporation, it was wholly an 
elected body. The governor and assistants were elected 
just as truly as were the deputies, and for the same terms. 
From this point of view the only difference between the 
assistants and deputies was that the former received their 
mandate from the freemen as a collective body in the Court 
of election while the deputies received theirs from the free- 
men organized into towns. Over the former the governor 
presided, while the latter chose a speaker for a single session 
or a shorter period ; ' under the law of 1686 there were two 
regular sessions annually, in May and October. The one 

1 Recs. L 170 ; H. 68. 

3 Colonial Laws (1889), 142. 

* In October, 1647, Joseph Hill was elected speaker ** for this week." The 
speaker was sometimes called moderator. Savage, in his edition of Winthrop, 
II. 63, gives a list of the speakers under the first charter. The House made 
its rules, and the speaker simply aided in enforcing them, and had a casting 
vote when there was a tie. In 1674 two *^oomptrollers of ye house *^ were 
chosen to see that no one spoke more than once till all who desired had 
spoken. This order seems to have bedn In foroe In 1646. Each house had 
a clerk, elected for a year. Other officers of the deputies, as doorkeeper and 
steward, were chosen for a single session or less. CoL Recs. IIL 115, 19, 


was devoted to the business of election and legislation, the CHAP, 
other to leg^lation. Before either, as will subsequently ^ 
appear, important cases might be brought for trial. The 
court of election differed from that of leg^lation in that it 
was a joint session of the outgoing magistrates, together\, 
with the new deputies and such freemen as chose to attend 
in person, and it appears to have been presided over by the 
outgoing governor. 

Regularly two deputies were returned from each town.^ 
Cases of disputed election begin to appear in 1635. In that 
year five commissioners were appointed by the court to in- 
vestigate the election of the deputies from Ipswich. It was 
decided that two of them had been irregularly chosen, and 
they were dismissed. At the same session, however, it was 
enacted that the deputies should have authority to hear and 
determine differences that might arise about the election of 
their own members.^ But it would seem from the language 
of later entries that the court confirmed the action of the 
deputies in such cases. In May, 1642, a writ for a new 
election was ordered to be sent to Salem, on the ground 
that the court was doubtful about the choice of one of the 
deputies from that town.' In 1654, because of uncertainty 
as to its numbers and membership, the court ordered that 
constables, on penalty of fine, should thereafter return the 
names of persons chosen as deputies by their respective 
towns, and whether they were chosen for one session or two 
sessions.^ Occasionally constables had been fined by the 
court for neglecting to do this.*^ If non-freemen voted 
for deputies, or if freemen voted for one who was unsound 
in belief, was unfaithful to the government, or who was 
under bond to keep the peace, they themselves were liable 
to penalties.^ 

As was the practice among the trading companies of Eng- ^ 
land, both houses made frequent use of committees.^ This 

1 Col. Recs. L 264. » Ibid. BL 2. » Ibid. L 220. 

a/6icil42. * TWei fvi. 203. • Ibid. 221 ; IV K 206. 

^ In 1644 the elden, in replying to certain queries concerning the relations 
of the magistrates and the general court, made this statement respecting the 
power of the court to appoint committees. '^ The General Court hath power 


PART was especially true after 1637. But comparatively few of 
these were in the proper sense of the word legislative com- 
mittees. Of this character were conmiittees appointed in 
March, 1688, October, 1666, and May, 1669, to examine peti- 
tions before the court and report what should be done with 
them ; and many that were appointed during the contro- 
versy with the home government subsequent to 1660. But 
by far the larger number of the committees mentioned in 
the records were composed in part of individuals who were 
not members of the general court and were properly execu- 
tive committees. They were created to supplement the 
general executive work of the magistrates. 

Petitions in large numbers and on a variety of subjects 
were presented before the general court, and in many cases 
they occasioned legislation. One of the earliest, as well as 
one of the most famous, was the Boston petition and re- 
monstrance of March, 1637,^ against the action of the 
court in the case of Rev. John Wheelwright. This was 
signed by more than sixty persons, and resulted in the 
expulsion of many of its signers from the colony. The 
Boston petition was probably the result of an effort to 
settle matters out of court, though in any case, if the 
committee chose, matters thus broached might be brought 
before the court. The petition of the inhabitants of 
Springfield, in 1641, concerning their relation with the 
river towns of Connecticut was read in open court* and 
referred to a committee. On their report it was further 
considered, with the result that the control of Massachu- 
setts over Springfield was fully asserted. In 1646, and 
perhaps earlier, the court had passed an order that no peti- 

by patent in such particular cases to choose any officers & commissioners, 
either Assistants or freemen, exempting all others, to give them commission 
to set forth their power and places ; which yet wee understand with the dis- 
tinction, viz., that if the affaires committed to rach officers & commissioners 
be of general concernment, we conceive the freemen, according to patent, 
are to choose them, the General Court to set forth their powers and places ; 
but if the afEaires committed to such officers or conmiissioners be of meerly 
particiilar concernment, then we conceive the General Court may both choose 
and set forth their power and places.*' CoL Bees. II. 92. 

^ Ibid. I. 205 ; Winthrop's Journal, I. 293. 

< Mass. Recs. L 320. 


tions should be received after the first three days of the CHAP. 

session, but this was repealed in the November session of ^ 

that year.^ In 1654, however, such was the inconvenience 
arising from the presentation of petitions late in the session, 
that it was ordered that none be received after the first four 
days of a court of election, or after the first week of the 
other sessions.^ 

By the middle of the century petitions had become numer- 
ous and varied, as a reference to the journals will show.* 
For some years subsequent to 1650 the entries in the jour- 
nals fall roughly into the classes of laws, petitions, and 
miscellaneous orders.^ Petitions were presented for the 
bestowment of office, for license to keep ordinaries or to 
sell liquor, for permission to carry on the business of salt- 
making, for grant of lands, for permission to buy or sell 
lands, for confirmation of sales, for the bounding of towns, 
for the probate of wills, the payment of dues, the redress of 
wrongs of all kinds, remission of fines and other penalties. 
An examination of the entries reveals the fact that a large 
majority of the petitions had reference to matters of a pri- 
vate nature, and called for action of an administrative or 
judicial character. This statement is further confirmed by 
a detailed order of May, 1680,* respecting the fees payable 
on reception of petitions. Because the members were put 
to expense and much time was spent every session in con- 
sidering petitions, it was ordered that the fees collected on 
the reception of them be divided among the members accord- 
ing to the same rule which was observed when cases were 
heard in open court. As this would reduce the emolu- 
ments which the secretary of the colony had been receiving 
from this source, it was provided that one-fourth of his 
salary should be paid in money from the treasury. Only 
occasionally do petitions with a distinct political purpose 

The governor occupied toward the general court substan- 

1 Mass. Recs. m. 82. s Ibid. TV^. 183. 

* A good example is fomiBhed by the entries for the May session of 1640. 
CoL Bees. n. 273. 

* Ibid. IVK 30 et seq. » Ibid. V. 268. 

VOL. I — M 


FABT tially the same position which he held toward the court of 
^ the corporation in England. He possessed no veto power. 
As in the charter, so now, the number of sessions of the 
general court which must be annually held was specified.^ 
After 1639 the court of election met without special sum- 
mons. Though the governor called the court together on 
extraordinary occasions* and presided over its deliberations, 
he was not empowered to adjourn or dissolve the court 
without its consent. On these, as on other questions, he 
simply declared the will of the majority of that body.' His 
assent to legislation was not required. Therefore, in Massa- 
chusetts, the governor could not be considered a branch of 
the legislature ; in no sense was he its constituting officer.^ 
He was simply its president, as he had been of the court 
of the corporation in England, and had the casting vote 
>/ when there was a tie.* When the court was divided into 
two houses, he presided over that of the assistants. It was 
I in his magisterial power, then, rather than in his connection 
' with the legislature, that the governor of Massachusetts 
found his strength. During his term, as will appear later 
and more in detail, he was the permanent administrative 
head of the colony, and presided over its highest judicial 
court. Through the exercise of these functions he, with 
the men who surrounded him, could restrain and conserve, 
but the onward flow of legislation the governor could modify 
only through personal and official influence. His position, 
therefore, was in every way analogous to that occupied by 
Sir Edwin Sandys in the London company, while in impor- 
tant respects it differed from that of the proprietary or 
• royal governors. His position was stronger than theirs in 
i one respect — he was an elected officer, and thus might be 

1 Col. Recs. 1. 118, 170. 

3 Colonial Laws (ed. of 1889), 142. 

* Body of Liberties, clause 69. 

* In the General Laws as revised and issued in 1668 the general court is 
said to consist of the magistrates and deputies. No distinction is there made 
between the governor and the other magistrates. Colonial Laws (1889), 

B Lavra of 1641, Colonial Laws, 143. The governor also had the casting 
vote in the court of assistants. Body of Liberties, clause 71. 


supposed to carry with him the support of his constituents. CHAP. 

His means of controlling legislation were much less direct ^^ \ 

than theirs, though, as events proved, they may have been 
quite as effective. The position of the governor in Massa- 
chusetts is but typical of the system of which he formed 
a part. It was a system in which tenure by election pre- 
dominated, a characteristic which resulted from the merging 
of the corporation in the colony and which made all the 
easier the transition to the commonwealth. 

Though both the house of magistrates and the house of 
deputies in the Massachusetts general court were elective, 
and that for the same terms ; though both were elected by \j 
the same body of freemen, and Massachusetts society from 
which they proceeded was not sharply divided into classes, 
yet persistent conflicts arose between the two branches of the 
legislature and continued until, after the Restoration, both 
were forced to combine in passive resistance to the crown. 
The explanation of this is to be found in the connection 
between the civil and the ecclesiastical power in the colony. 
In order to secure that, and to maintain it when secured, 
magistrates and elders combined in close alliance, and thus 
became strong enough usually to control elections and the 
general court. This, with other causes, insured the reten- 
tion of the same individuals in the magistracy for long 
periods. The magistrates were men of ability, who, because 
of their adherence to the ideal which Winthrop set forth in 
his Modell of ChrxBtian Charity^ soon came to have strong 
administrative traditions. They were not believers in 
equality, and least of all did they cherish anarchical ten- 
dencies. These they repressed in order that, as Puritans, 
they might attain the ideal to which they had committed 
themselves. Hence the element of leadership and the aris- 
tocratic tenvper from which it originates, were strong among 
the magistrates and clergy of Massachusetts. It led them 
to form a clique, and against its predominance and exclusive- 
ness a party in the deputies kept up a prolonged conflict. 
This struggle forms one of the main features of Massachu- 
setts political life during the first twenty years of the 
colony's existence. It took the form of an attack on the 



PART ' legislative independence and equality of the magistrates — 
the so-called negative voice — and on their administra- 
tive discretion. With only the former are we here con- 

It has already been noticed that the charter of 1629, 
unlike those which were granted to the London company, 
provided for a quorum of assistants whose presence was 
necessary for the transaction of business. Its language was, 
" We do . . . give and grant . . . that the governor or 
. . • the deputy governor and such of the assistants and 
freemen of the said company as shall be present, or the 
greater number of them so assembled, whereof the governor, 
or deputy governor, and six of the assistants, at least to be 
seven, shall have full power," etc. According to the com- 
mon law, this quorum must be present when business was 
being transacted in the general court, and this fact gave to 
the assistants in the Massachusetts legislature a distinct 
place which the council in Virginia could not claim by the 
words of their royal charter, though they could claim it 
under orders of the company. 

When, in 1634, the inhabitants of Newtown asked for leave 
to remove to the banks of the Connecticut, the majority of 
the assistants opposed the proposition and the majority of 
the deputies favored it. " Upon this," ^ says Winthrop, " grew 
a great difference between the governor and assistants and 
the deputies. They would not yield the assistants a nega- 
tive voice, and the others (considering how dangerous it 
might be to the commonwealth, if they should not keep that 
strength to balance the greater number of the deputies) 
thought it safe to stand upon it." What the deputies evi- 
dently wanted at that time was, that the general court 
should sit and vote as a single democratically organized 
assembly ; and in that case the numerical superiority of the 
deputies would enable them to carry the day. A fast was 
Ni kept, and John Cotton preached. He argued that society 
consisted of magistracy, ministry, and people ; the first 
standing for authority, the second for purity, the third for 
liberty. Each of these, he said, had a negative on the others, 

^ Journal, L 168. 


and the ultimate decision must be reached by the agreement CHAP. 

of the whole. This argument closed the mouths of the ^^ ^ 

opposition, and the attack on the negative voice of the mag- 
istrates was for the time abandoned. As we have seen, the 
legislative equality of the two branches of the court was 
soon affirmed. 

But in 1642 the controversy was resumed. At this time an 
element of sectionalism also appears, for Salem and the adja- 
cent towns were jealous because the colony was governed so 
exclusively by a group of magistrates and clergy who lived 
in, or near, Boston. An incident resulting in part from this 
feeling was the severe criticism of Winthrop's management 
of relations with the rival French claimants of territory 
to the eastward, D'Aunay and La Tour. But the specific 
occasion of the renewal of the controversy over the negative 
voice was the famous suit of Mrs. Sherman, a poor widow, 
against Robert Keajme, a well-to-do Boston shopkeeper, for 
the recovery of a lost sow.^ Popular prejudice against 
Keayne, and in favor of the widow, was strong, and it was 
increased by the fact that a few years before Keayne had been 
punished because he charged exorbitant prices for his goods. 
There was no evidence, however, to show that he was guilty 
of the charge brought against him by the widow Sherman, 
and the assistants, as a result of a jury trial, declared him 
innocent. But the case was appealed to the general court, 
and there the majority of the magistrates voted for Keayne, 
while the majority of the deputies favored Mrs. Sherman. 
This brought up again the question of the negative voice. 
Winthrop wrote a defence of it,* basing his argument on the 
doctrine of the quorum as he found it in English precedents. 
By virtue of it he claimed that the negative voice of the 
magistrates was original and fundamental, and that they had 
the authority to assent to or reject all propositions which were 
brought before the general court. Not only, he argued, was 
the presence of the quorum of assistants necessary to a legal 
session of the general court, but they, as a distinct body, 
must legislate in it. Saltonstall in a pamphlet attacked 

1 Winthrop, n. 83, 143 ; Recs. IL 40. 

3 Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop, n. 428. 


PABT the executive as embodied in the standing cooncil, and in this 
Bellingham supported him. This led to prolonged discus- 
sions in the court and among the elders, the latter in all 
cases defending institutions as they were. So warm did the 
discussion become, that, when the session of May, 1643, was 
about to adjourn, an order was passed that every member 
should take pains to inform himself about the negative voice, 
and any one might soberly discuss it orally or in writing. 
But Mrs. Sherman and her supporters finding it impossible 
to convict Keayne, the interest in the constitutional aspects 
of the subject subsided. In 1644 the question was forever 
N laid to rest by the legal separation^ of the legislature into 
two coequal houses. Thus the contention of the magis- 
trates prevailed. 

iRecs. n. 6& 



In Massachusetts, as in the other corporate colonies, the CHAP. 
executive power was lodged in the governor and board of ^ 
assistants. Not only was this a multiple executive or board, 
but all its members were chosen by the freemen in court of 
election for the term of one year. For a long period sub- 
sequent to the removal of the board into the colony its 
membership was not kept full. Instead of eighteen mem- 
bers required by the charter, only nine, or even less, were 
elected. At the outset this was due in part to the lack of 
suitable candidates for the office, but the continuance of the 
policy is to be explained by th*e necessity of reducing the 
size of the executive board in the interest of its efficiency. 
Its functions in the colony were quite different from what 
they were while the company was resident in England, and 
it was necessary that unity and promptness of action should 
be secured. These qualities were greatly enhanced by the 
close alliance of the members among themselves and with 
the clergy. By means of this also the independence of the 
executive was in a large measure secured, which otherwise, 
owing to its tenure by election and its brief term of office, 
it might have lacked. The same spirit of solidarity kept 
the leaders among the assistants in office year after year, 
and thus secured great permanence of tenure. 

Massachusetts, notwithstanding its seemingly democratic 
form, was really governed by a very few men. This fact will, 
clearly appear when we consider how continuously the lead- 
ing members of the board of assistants held office. Brad- 
street held office as an assistant without interruption from 
1632 until 1679, and then he was elected governor. That 
office he retained until government under the first charter 



PART was dissolved. Between 1630 and 1648 — the date of his 
^^•^ death — Winthrop was governor for twelve years, and was 
either deputy governor or assistant the rest of the time. 
In one or another of these capacities Dudley served con- 
tinuously during the entire period of his life in Massachu- 
setts. During every year but one between 1649 and 1664 
John Endicott was governor. Previous to 1649 he had 
served three years as deputy governor and several years as 
an assistant. Bellingham served continuously as governor 
from 1666 to 1672. Leverett was reelected to the office 
every year from 1673 to 1678. During the last-mentioned 
._ period Symonds served continuously as deputy governor, 
while Danforth was the colleague of Bradstreet from 1679 
to 1686. Besides the men already mentioned one might 
at any time be almost certain to find among the assistants 
during the first generation Nowell, Humphrey, John Win- 
throp, Jr., and Pynchon. . Gookin, Dennison, Willard, 
Atherton, and Stoughton occupy equally prominent places 
subsequent to 1650. Doubtless this record could be par- 
alleled from the history of all the other corporate colonies. 
Rhode Island was no exception to the rule. An appointed 
executive could not have been more permanent, or its 
traditions more abiding, than was the case with the elected 
assistants of the corporate colonies. 

Like the council of the province, the board of assistants \r 
also constituted one of the houses of the legislature, and 
was the highest judicial court in the cil^ny. Thus, by 
means of it, the executive, legislature, and judiciary were 
closely bound up together, as in the English system of 
government, though in a way very different. The idea 
that a separation of powers was possible or desirable had 
not occurred to the founders of government in the American 

/ colonies. 

Owing to these facts and to the dearth of records, it is 
\ not easy to disentangle the work of the executive from the 
web of Massachusetts history. The assistants kept no 
journal. In the journal of the general court, after the first 
few years, only occasional references to their action appear. 
If we were left wholly to the records, the task would have to 


be abandoned as hopeless. But for dates prior to the close ' CHAP, 
of 1648 many and most valuable references to the work of ^^ 
the executive are made in Winthrop's History of New Eng- 
land^ which is familiarly known as his Journal, It was 
written by one who bore a leading part in all of its delib- 
erations during that period, and is a storehouse of material 
for the early history of the board of assistants and its 
relations with the clergy. For the period which it covers, 
it supplies in part the lack of a journal of the assistants. 
After Winthrop's death we are left in the dark, and can 
only infer the acts of the executive from hints and from ^ts 
known relation to the general court. 

The president of the board was the governor, and yet, 
. though elected, he was not an assistant. Still, with the 
rest, when attention was directed chiefly to their judicial 
functions, he might be called a magistrate. The governor 
presumably called special meetings of the board, though 
often on the advice of one or more of the assistants, and 
bore a leading part in the conduct of business in regular, 
as well as special, meetings. \ His functions, however, were 
more continuous than those of the other members, so 
that they might be termed his associates, though they in 
no sense derived their official status from him. When it 
was physically possible, the governor was constantly ready 
at his post as an executive officer. Abundant evidence 
appears in the pages of Winthrop of the manifoldness of 
his duties, especially in the earlier years of the colony, and 
of their continuity. As the chief executive the burden of 
responsibility rested mainly upon him. It was therefore 
necessary that he should reside at the seat of government. 
In the early days he superintended the work of settlement. 
Then and at all times, during intervals between meetings of 
the board of assistants, the governor had conducted the 
correspondence of the colony, held or ordered inquiries, 
received messengers from various parts of the c61ony, from 
the Indians, from neighboring English or foreign colonies; 
or perhaps had arrested and detained offenders, or put them 
under bonds. This he may have done alone, with the coop- 
eration of the deputy governor and one or more of the assist- 


PART ants, or with them after advising with some of the elders. 
^ J In a variety of ways business came into his hands, and when 
the assistants met, the governor may be supposed to have 
brought forward more business than any associate, more 
perhaps than all the associates together. But the governor 
lad no status apart from the board and the legislature, of 
^hich he was president, and therefore was bound by the 

(tion of the board. It acted as a unit, and did not simply 
give advice which the governor could accept, ignore, or 
reject. The governmental centre of the colony became 
its capital, not so much because the governor lived there, 
bitt because it was the place where the general court usually 
met and where the judicial and executive sessions of the 
assistants were held. Boston was fixed upon as the most 
convenient place for "meetings." 

Unlike the province, the system of government in the cor- 
' porate colony was one in which the weight of the governor 
among the assistants, as elsewhere, depended much on his 
personality, on the extent to which he was in harmony with 
the views of the entire body of magistrates and elders, or 
• could control them. A political, de facto ^ leadership was 
the only one possible. For nearly twenty years, at the 
beginning of the colony's history, John Winthrop fulfilled 
these requirements to a high degree and both as governor 
and assistant enjoyed a corresponding influence. The only 
man who ever seriously posed as his rival was Thomas Dud- 
ley. For a time the rivalry was sharp between them, but 
Dudley showed himself to be the inferior man, and before 
the first decade had passed fell back into an inferior place. 

The assistants who first ordered affairs in Massachusetts 
were elected in England and derived their office from the 
general court. After its removal to the colony the board 
was chosen in the peculiarly organized court of election. 
During the first three or four years the assistants, as an ex- 
ecutive, bore a relatively more important part in the affairs 
of the colony than at any subsequent time. This was due 
to the fact that, because of the small number of freemen, 
and the simplicity of all relations, there was little about 
which to legislate. The functions of the general court were 


for a time partially suspended. The assistants thus were CHAP, 
largely without a rival. The initial work of colonization, ^' 
requiring as it did single specific acts in a continuous series, 
was preeminently administrative in character. In this re- 
spect, notwithstanding the difference in their organization, 
the similarity between the New England colonies and the 
provinces is clear. In the course of the four months which 
followed Winthrop's landing, the assistants met four times, 
and a variety of administrative business was done. Provi- 
sion ^ was made for the support of the ministers and military 
captains, a house was ordered to be built for Mr. Gager, the 
surgeon, and other provision was made for his support ; a 
beadle was appointed to attend upon the governor and be 
ready to execute his commands ; the time of holding courts 
was determined ; the first of a long list of orders fixing wages 
of carpenters and other workmen was issued ; the process, of 
naming towns, of electing and swearing in their constables, 
was begun ; the admission of settlers into the colony with- 
out a permit from the governor and assistants was forbid- 
den; trade with the Indians without permission was also 
forbidden ; a tax was levied, the arrest of Thomas Morton 
was ordered, and judicial business was done. 

The general court of October 19, 1630, sat but a single 
day, and the most it did was to give legislative power, and 
the right to elect officers, to the assistants, thus centring 
all power within the colony in the hands of the executive. 
During the months which followed, before the spring court 
of election, the magistrates were free to strike out new 
courses, untrammelled by precedents drawn from England 
or from earlier doings at Salem. But they pursued the or- 
dinary routine,^ offering a reward for the killing of wolves, 
providing for a ferry to Charlestown, sending several 
would-be colonists back to England as unfit for Massachu- 
setts, warning Salem against Roger Williams, forbidding 
the use of money in Indian trade, considering whether or 
not Newtown should be fortified. 

Though the general court of May, 1631, took from the 
assistants the power of choosing the governor and deputy 

1 Recs. I. 73 et aeq. * Ibid, I. 81 et seq. 


PART governor, it did not forbid them to legislate.^ During the 
year which passed before the next session of the general 
court, we have record of eleven meetings. Then, as in later 
years, meetings were held less frequently in winter than 
during the other seasons. Measures which were now adopted 
by the assistants, but which at a later time might well have 
passed the general court, provided that the bounds of New- 
town and Charlestown should be run by commissioners, that 
all islands in the colony should be appropriated for public 
use, should be under the control of the governor and assist- 
ants, and be leased by them to relieve public charges ; that 
an island in the harbor should be granted to Winthrop as 
the "governor's garden"; that corn should pass for all 
debts at the usual price, unless money oi> beaver were 
especially mentioned ; that none should leave the colony 
without permission or carry money or beaver to England 
without leave of the governor. A few police regulations 
were issued, servants were frequently whipped for leaving 
their masters and for other offences. Sir Christopher Gar- 
dener,* who had appeared in the colony as an agent of Gorges, 
was arrested, but finally was allowed to retire to the eastern 
settlements, whence he later returned to England. Every 
assistant was empowered to issue warrants, summonses, and 
attachments, and the acts of the board were declared authen- 
tic, if they passed under the secretary's hand. 

Upon three meetings of the board held this year the state- 
ments of Winthrop throw much light.* On the first occasion 
the pastor and elder of the church at Watertown, and others 
of the inhabitants of that town, came in response to sum- 
mons to answer for their conduct touching the levy by the 
assistants of a rate for fortifying Newtown. An assembly 
of the people at Watertown had been called, before which 
the pastor, elder, and others had declared that it was not safe 
to pay money in that way, for there was danger that they 
would bring themselves and posterity into bondage. As the 
result of a long discussion with the assistants, the offenders 
from Watertown were convinced that they had erroneously 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. L 87. * Winthrop, L 65, 68 ; Mass. Col. Recs. 1. 83. 

» Winthrop, L 84, 87, 98. 


taken the government of the colony, as then organized, to chap. 
rank no higher than an English municipality. When it was ^^ 
explained to them that the assistants were annually elected, 
and that once a year, before the general court, all grievances 
could be presented, they declared themselves satisfied, and 
when their submission had been publicly made it was ac- 
cepted. In this discussion, as we have saen, the claim was 
boldly advanced that the colony, though a corporation, ranked^ 
higher than a municipality, and that its legislature and 
ecutive combined partook of the nature of a parliament.^ 

A\a private meeting of the board on May-day,^ 1632, two 
months and more after the debate with the Watertown 
people, the relations between Winthrop and Dudley came 
under consideration. Dudley, contrary to usage in such 
cases, had suddenly resigned his office as deputy governor. 
Two questions were raised touching this act : why he did 
it, and whether it was a valid act. Concerning the second 
question the opinion was unanimous, that only the power 
which placed the deputy in his office could remove him from 
it. In reply to the first question, Dudley stated that he had 
resigned in order to get an opportunity to speak his mind 
freely. Then in sharp words he told how the governor had 
criticised him because he had sold to some poor members of 
the congregation seven and one-half bushels of corn on con- 
dition that they should deliver ten to him after harvest. 
This the governor had declared " oppressing usury, and 
within compass of the statute." But Dudley insisted that 
it was lawful, and hot words arose about it, which Winthrop 
says he " took notice of," but " bore them with more pa- 
tience than he had done on a like occasion at another time." 
Dudley also stated that the governor had reproved him for 
expending so much on wainscoting and other adornments 
for his house ; it was not only a bad example, but the 
expense had better be saved for meeting the public charge. 
To this Dudley had replied that he had simply nailed clap- 
board to the wall of his house in the form of wainscot to 
make it warmer, and that the cost had been little. ^^ These 
and other speeches passed before dinner." 

* Winthrop, I. 87 et seq. 


After dinner "Mr. Ludlow grew into a passion." The 
occasion of this was a statement by Winthrop, that he had 
heard that the freemen had intended at the next general court 
to resume to themselves the election of the governor, and 
that the assistants should be chosen once every year. Lud- 
low then exclaimed that for a time every year there would 
be no government but an interim wherein every man might 
do what he pleased. The other assistants showed that he was 
wrong, but he refused to admit it, and protested that he 
would return to England. Some other aflfairs having been 
attended to, the meeting broke up without a reconciliation 
between the governor and deputy. But the day before the 
general court met, all difiPerences were smoothed over. The 
court adjudged Dudley's resignation a nullity, and he ac- 
cepted the office for another term. 

But relations between Winthrop and Dudley did not 
long continue harmonious.^ The latter, on the expectation 
that Newtown was to be the chief town of the colony, had 
settled there, and the governor and others had also promised 
to erect their houses at that place. But, in violation of 
contract, as Dudley alleged, Winthrop, after having partly 
completed a house at Newtown, had suddenly torn it down 
and removed to Boston. Winthrop's explanation of this 
was, that the rest of the assistants would not build at New- 
town, and that some of his neighbors at Boston, having been 
dissuaded by the deputy himself from removing to Newtown, 
had petitioned him (the governor) not to recede from a 
promise he had made them when they sat down with him 
at Boston to the effect that he would not remove thence 
unless they went with him. 

In order, if possible, to end the dispute, a meeting was 
arranged between the governor, deputy, and four of the 
ministers, the earliest conspicuous instance of its kind. 
After prayer, and the statement of the case by the two 
parties, the ministers retired for an hour, and returning 
delivered the opinion that the governor was at fault in 
removing back to Boston so suddenly, but if the deputy had 
dissuaded Boston men from removing to Newtown, it would 

1 Winthrop, I. 98 et seq. 


excuse the governor a tanto but not a toto. The governor, CHAP 
therefore, in deference to the judgment of so many wise and 
godly friends, " acknowledged himself faulty." 

Dudley then launched into the second and more important 
article of his indictment, involving the position of the gov- 
ernor within the board of assistants, and the discretionary 
power which he possessed. On the admission of Winthrop 
that he was bound by the patent, Dudley affirmed that, 
except his precedency and power to call courts, the governor 
had no more authority than any assistant. Winthrop claimed' 
that he had more, " for the patent," he declared, " making 
him a governor, gave him whatsoever power belonged 
to a governor by common law or the statutes." Upon his 
asking Dudley to state wherein he had exceeded his author- 
ity, the latter flew into a passion, and high words passed 
between the two. But the mediators soon calmed them, 
and then Dudley cited seven instances in which he thought 
Winthrop had acted with too great independence. The 
governor was able to produce law or precedent which clearly 
justified his conduct in three of the cases ; in one other he 
was able to show that he acted in cooperation with several 
of the assistants, in another he stated that he was disposing 
of his own property. The secretary, if any one, was respon- 
sible for another alleged delinquency. In only one case, 
that of encouragement given to the inhabitants of Water- 
town to erect a weir on Charles river, did Winthrop admit 
that he had acted with large discretion, but in this instance 
he had only expressed his desire that the people would act, 
promising to use all his influence with the next court to 
procure an order in their favor. ^ In his journal Winthi'op 
states that he answered these charges, not because he was 
under obligation to do so, but to convince his colleagues 
that he was not trying ^^ to gain absolute power and bring 
all the assistants under his subjection." The improbability 
of this assumption should have been evident, he says, from 
the fact that he himself had drawn articles limiting the 
authority of his office, and they had been approved and 

1 The general court of May, 1632, confirmed the action of Watertown in 
bnilding the weir. Col. Recs. I. 96. 


PART established by the court. These he had not transgressed. 
Winthrop's defence apparently seemed so clear that the 
elders found no call for mediation, and so the meeting 
broke up. Thereafter, we are told, the governor and deputy 
" kept peace and good correspondency together in love and 
^^UTT Until May, 1634, the board continued to be the chief organ 
^if government in Massachusetts. Only one meeting of the 
general court, the court of election, was held annually, and 
^it did little business except electing officers. It laid no 
commands of importance on the assistants. They continued 
to grant lands, establish the boundaries of towns, specify 
what lands should be common, vote rates, fix the rate of 
wages, and do every variety of colony business. The com- 
mittee of two which the general court ^ of May, 1632, ordered 
to be chosen from every plantation to confer about a public 
stock, apparently conferred, if at all, with the assistants. . 
One of the most important acts of the board was the prepa- 
ration by it, in 1634, of the resident's oath,^ and the issue of 
the order that it should be taken by every resident within 
the jurisdiction above the age of twenty years. But with the 
organization of a representative system by the admission 
of deputies to the general court in 1634, that body assumed 
again its former place as the chief organ of the system..! It 
then declared, as has been already stated, that it alone had 
the authority to admit freemen, to make laws, to elect 
officers, raise money, grant and confirm lands. Two annual 
sessions of the general court, and sometimes more, are 
thenceforward regularly held. Orders of an administrative 
nature, as well as laws, emanated from it. The board of 
assistants from that time became a purely administrative 
and judicial body. The work of legislation done by them, 
they now did as members of the general court. The records 
of their doings outside the legislature soon fail us, but the 
few that remain ^ show us that they continued to swear in 

1 Wlnthrop, L 91. 

< Mass. Col. Recs. L 116. The term ** resident'' in this connection has 
a technical meaning. It implies a householder or sojourner who was not a 

> Ibid. I. 121 et 9eq. 


constables and magistrates, to regulate the conduct of ser- CHAP 
yants and their contracts, and to bind over to keep the peace. 
But from Winthrop we learn that the volume of administra- 
tive work, to say nothing of the judicial business, which 
they continued to do was large. That, except in the winter, 
the meetings continued to be held monthly or oftener is 
certain. Many frders issued by the general court were 
executed by tho. assistants. In the pages of Winthrop we 
see the assistants providing for the defence at Castle island, 
taking action about the defacement of the flag at Salem, 
deliberating about a treaty with the Pequot Indians, con- 
cerning themselves repeatedly and intimately with the case 
of Roger Williams, consulting the ministers as to the course 
which should be pursued if a general governor should be 
sent from England, sending an expedition to Block island to 
avenge the death of John Oldham, treating with the Narra- 
gansett Indians, corresponding with the neighboring colonies 
about cooperation against the Pequots, causing the prepara- 
tion of a defence of the policy of the colony toward the 
Antinomians, and so on through the entire period. The 
continuous executive work of the colony was done as fully 
by the governor and assistants in corporate colonies, though 
they held by an elective tenure, as it was by the king and 
council in England. 

Early in 1635, when the colony was facing serious peril, 
the question of the degree of mildness or severity which it 
was proper for the assistants to manifest in the treatment of 
offenders arose. The policy of Winthrop, in accord with his 
habitual temper, had been comparatively mild ; that followed 
by Dudley, who had recently closed a term as governor, had 
been character: ?tically severe. Still the two men continued 
to act as friends. But the Rev. Hugh Peters and Henry 
Vane, newcomers in the colony, thought they saw factions 
developing about the two magistrates, and hence had a con- 
ference summoned,^ much like that of 1632. It was attended 
by Haynes and Bellingham, who were then the governor 
and deputy governor, by Winthrop and Dudley, Vane and 
Peters, and by three of the older ministers of the colony. 

^ Winthrop, L 211 et 8eq. 

VOL. I — H 



PABT As Dudley and Winthrop professed mutual friendship and 
ignorance of any occasion for the conference, it devolved on 
Haynes to specify certain cases in which he thought Winthrop 
had " dealt too remissly in point of justice." Winthrop ad- 
mitted some fault, but declared it to be his judgment that, 
because of the ignorance of the people respecting new laws, 
and the labors and hardships they had to endure, *4n the 
infancy of plantations justice should be administered with 
more lenity than in a settled state." But if it was made 
clear to him that he was in error, he would adopt a stricter 
course. The question was then referred to the ministers for 
an opinion, and the next morning, in contradiction of Win- 
throp's opinion, they unanimously reported that in plantations 
strict discipline in military affairs and in the punishment of 
criminals was more needful than in a settled state, because 
it tended "to the honor and safety of the gospel." That 
military discipline in any of the colonies was likely to be 
excessive is not probable ; but their criminal law and pro- 
cedure might conceivably have been more humane. How- 
ever, the experience and worldly wisdom of the best of all 
their governors was ignored by the elders, and the colony was 
committed to a policy of rigor. Such was the power of the 
clergy, that Winthrop acknowledged himself convinced and 
promised to follow a stricter course hereafter. A set of 
articles was prepared by the conference with the purpose of 
strengthening harmony and cooperation among the magis- 
trates. The last of these provided that acts of contempt 
toward the court or any of the magistrates should be 
specially noted and punished, and that the magistrates 
" should appear more solemnly in public, with attendance, 
apparel, and open notice of their entrance into court." 

In 1635 and 1636 the aristocratic tendencies in Massachu- 
setts were strengthened by reports that certain Puritan 
noblemen from England — Lord Say and Sele, Lord Brook, 
and others — were intending to remove thither. The corre- 
spondence ^ which resulted from this revealed the fact that 
the order of magistracy and the rank of gentleman ^ were 

1 HatchinsoQ, History of Massachusetts, I. Appendixes II and m. 

3 In the Body of Liberties, sect 43, it was enacted that no true gentleman. 


considered very nearly synonymous by the Massachusetts CHAP 
leaders, though they were not quite ready to admit that ^ ^ 
office and rank should be hereditary. That democracy was 
not ordained of God and that their system was not demo- 
cratic, they expressly affirmed. But they were not ready to 
give up annual elections, though they insisted that the 
bestowment of office through them be limited by a strict 
regard for fitness. That, as we have seen, resulted in a per- 
manency of official tenure which carried with it a suggestion 
of the hereditary quality. John Cotton, in a sermon 
preached before the general court in 1634, expressed the 
view that an office was analogous to a freehold.^ Both he 
and others found sanction in the Bible for the belief that the 
higher magistrates should hold for life.^ This opinion 
seems to have prevailed especially among the clergy. 

On the advice of the elders who held this view, and as a 
concession to Lord Say and Sele and his friends, the general 
court, in the session of March, 1636, ordered^ that at the 
next election, and from time to time thereafter, a certain 
number of magistrates should be chosen for life, and be 
removed only for crime, inefficiency, or other weighty cause. 
These were to constitute a standing council, of which the 
governor should always be president. It should have such 
power as the general court saw fit to bestow upon it. The 
following May Winthrop and Dudley were chosen members.* 
A year later Endicott was added. Vane, like his successors, 
was president during the year of his office as governor. No 
other members were ever chosen. No duties seem to have been 
imposed on this body, except that of issuing commissions to 
military officers during the Pequot War, and of preparing for 
defence against a possible interference of the home govern- 
ment in 1636. It soon became apparent that there was no 
place for the standing council in the Massachusetts system ; 
it was always unpopular and therefore never developed. 

or none equal to a gentleman, should be punished with whipping, unless his 
crime was very shameful and his course of life vicious and profligate. 

1 Winthrop, I. 167. 

2 Ibid, 220 ; Hutchinson, I. Appendixes n and III ; Winthrop, L 863. 
» Mass. Col. Recs. I. 167. 
* Ihid. I. 174, 196 ; Winthrop, I. 220. 


In 1637 ^ a statement by one of the elders that, according 
to the practice of Israel and the best governments of Europe, 
a governor ought to hold for life, elicited from the deputies 
a proposal that no councillor, chosen for life, should have 
authority as a magistrate unless he was also chosen at the 
annual elections to one of the places of magistracy established 
by the patent. Governor Winthrop, rightly interpreting 
this as an attack on the standing council, refused to put it 
to vote until the magistrates had considered it. This they 
did, and proposed instead a declaration,^ that the intent of 
the order creating the standing council was that its members 
should be chosen from those who had been magistrates, and 
that no new order of magistracy should be created. An 
order was therefore now passed that no one of these council- 
lors perform any act of magistracy, unless he were annually 
chosen according to the patent. Thus the prejudice which 
the council was occasioning was appeased. But at the same 
time the order was an acknowledgment of the utter useless- 
ness of the council, and with the death of Winthrop it van- 
ishes from sight. No further attempt was made in the 
corporate colonies to coquet with hereditary orders or terms 
of oflSce for life. 

In a previous connection it was stated that, when the 
negative voice of the magistrates was under discussion, their 
administrative discretion was also an object of criticism. It 
played a part, too, in the controversy between Winthrop and 
Dudley. The discretion of the assistants, especially as an 
executive body, was without express limitations. Provisions 
of such a nature found no place in royal charters, and legis- 
lation developed too slowly during the early years of the 
colony to put any effective checks on their discretion. It 
was exercised freely in the interest of the church-state, and 
upon it hinged much of the discussion of the executive 
power in the early history of Massachusetts. In 1635 the 
deputies complained* of the possible danger to the state 
arising from the fact that, owing to positive laws, the mag- 
istrates might proceed according to their discretion. This 
led to the appointment of the first commission to frame a 

1 Winthrop, L 363. « Maas. Col. Recs. L 264. • « Winthrop, I. 191. 


body of laws "in resemblance to a Magna Charta." That 
act, after many delays and the appointment of many other 
committees, resulted in the draft and issue of the Body of 
Liberties of 1641. But its provisions limited the judicial, 
more than the administrative, discretion of the board, and 
therefore failed to quiet the complaint. 

In 1644 objection was made to the assistants — who are 
now sometimes referred to as the council — acting as a coun- 
cil for the administration ^ of the affairs of the colony during 
the recesses of the general court. This involved a denial of 
the permanent executive power of the assistants. The oppo- 
sition was in part sectional, as was that directed against the 
negative voice, and the members from Essex county carried 
through the deputies a bill empowering seven of the magis- 
trates and three of the deputies, together with Rev. Nathan- 
iel Ward, of Ipswich, to order all the affairs of the colony 
during the approaching vacancy of the general court. This 
was a proposition to transfer to a committee of the general 
court powers which had been exercised by the assistants 
since the founding of the colony, and which were an out- 
growth of the powers they possessed while the company was 
resident in England. The magistrates returned the bill with 
the answer that they thought it tended to subvert the govern- 
ment and the liberty of the freemen by taking from them 
the right of election ; also that by it four of the magistrates 
would be put out of ofl&ce. They finally asserted that the 
assistants already had by charter the power of a permanent 
council, and should not accept it by commission. 

The discussion suggests an important difference between 
the view of the assistants and that of the opposition concern- 
ing the relations in which the charter stood to the govern- 
ment of the colony. The argument of the assistants implied 
that in such a case an appeal to the charter was final ; that 
the general court was limited by it ; that the assistants had 
powers of government before the colony had written laws or 
general courts had been held ; that the office of governor 
presupposed the power to govern, though positive laws were 
lacking ; that the general court could direct the exercise of 

1 Wintl^rop, II. 204, 260 ; CoL Bees. 11. 90. 


PART power by the magistrates, but not deprive them of it. The 
deputies held that the general court was supreme within 
the colony, and that it was useless to appeal from its acts to 
the charter ; the assistants had no power out of court save 
that which was given them by the general court. The depu- 
ties stood upon the platform of legislative absolutism. 

The scheme for the time was defeated by the refusal of the 
magistrates who were designated in the bill to serve on the com- 
mission. At the next session, however, not only the question 
of administrative discretion, but that of the place of the as- 
sistants as an executive board in the colony government, came 
up again, and the elders were called on for their opinion. In 
well-reasoned and moderate statements they sustained the 
position of the board of assistants as a part of the system of 
government in the corporate colony.^ Governor Winthrop 
also wrote a vindication of Massachusetts against the charge 
that it had an arbitrary government. He based his argu- 
ment, so far as it was political in character, on the fact of 
the election of officials by the freemen, and on representation 
of the freemen in the general court. These utterances were 
decisive, and the position of the assistants as an executive 
board was never again questioned. 

But it was in their judicial even more than in their execu- 
tive capacity that the discretionary power of the magistrates 
was assailed. This leads us to a consideration of the judicial 
system of colonial Massachusetts,^ a subject which will not 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. n. 90, 03 ; Winthrop, 11. 251, 266 ; Winthrop, Life and 
Letters, II. 440. 

* The time has not yet come when a thorough comparative study can be 
made of the judicial institutionB of the American colonies. The sources, at 
best, for the seventeenth century are fragmentary. They are also not easily 
accessible. A knowledge of contemporary judicial institutions and legal pro- 
cedure in England, such as is scarcely yet possessed by any one, is a requisite 
for the undertaking. But when the conditions shall be ripe for the study, 
a rich harvest awaits the legal historian who shall attempt thoroughly to 
investigate the history of the introduction of English law into the American 
colonies. In the Suffolk court files, and doubtless also in the records of the 
ooimty courts of eastern Massachusetts, a mass of valuable material remains 
yet unexplored. A most praiseworthy step toward making this accessible 
has been taken in the publication of the Records of the Court of Assistants, 


only complete our view of the activity of the assistants, but CHAP, 
exhibit another and important function of the colony govern- ^^ 
ment as a whole. 

The development of Massachusetts after it became a cor- 
porate colony furnishes a striking example of the rapid and 
spontaneous unfolding of institutions from an original germ« 
It suggests familiar flowering processes in the physical 
world. The company, as it was in England, was a simple 
organism, with power to direct or oversee the growth of a 
colony, but without authority or instrumentalities for mak- 
ing or executing laws, administering justice, collecting or 
expending a revenue, carrying on war, or developing the insti- 
tutions of education and religion. Those functions must be 
performed in the colony itself and by the forces and author- 
ities there. Had the company continued to reside in Eng- 
land, it would have superintended the growth and exercise 
of these functions, but would have directly performed none 
of them. As the immediate consequence of its removal into 
the colony, however, the company began to assume all these 
powers and to exercise them directly. By losing itself in 
the colony it became a fully developed political organism. 
Starting with the general court, or at the beginning with 
the assistants as a substitute for it, the company developed 
all the organs which were necessary for the government of 
the jurisdiction. In the full and <]^rect assumption of gov- 
ernmental powers by the company ijbself appears the essence 
of the corporate system.^ 

From the outset the general court transacted some judi- 
cial business, and by law judicial functions were attributed 
to it. But after 1634, when it became specifically the legis- 
lature of the colony, the trial of ordinary suits before it was 
discouraged. Two special features of its work, as time went 

1 Winthrop states that one of the reasons why the magistrates hesitated 
to have a written code of laws prepared was their feeUng that, though it 
would be a violation of the charter to make laws which were repugnant to 
those of England, ** to raise up laws by practice and custom ** would be no 
transgression of it. If the civil marriage were expressly legalized, such a 
law would be repugnant to English statutes ; **but to bring it to a custom 
by practice for the magistrates to perform it, is no law made repugnant, etc/* 
Winthrop, I. 388. 


PABT on, were the hearing of suits in chancery and the trial of 
such admiralty cases as arose. Original cases of a judicial 
nature were brought before it by petition. Though many 
such were presented and the cases were heard, yet it was 
those of chief importance, especially such as had a political 
bearing, with which the general court was mainly concerned. 
In 1642 the first attempt was made by law ^ to distinguish 
between the sphere of the general court and that of the as- 
sistants, and this was occasioned by the large amount of 
time consumed in hearing civil cases which properly belonged 
to the inferior courts. Hence it was ordered that such cases 
should first be heard in the lower courts, and only when jus- 
tice could not be there obtained should the general court ^ be 
applied to for relief. The records, however, show that much 
judicial business continued to be done in the general court. 

When, in 1644, the question was put to the elders, as ref- 
erees, whether the general court had judicial authority, they 
could not^ find that it was granted by charter, though they 
did find that that body could remove a delinquent official. 
When also a law of the colony provided for appeals, or the 
reserve of special cases for the general court, then it might 
hear them. Of these they specially mentioned cases of ban- 
ishment, loss of life or limb, cases which were weighty or 
difficult or without express law.* In such cases only could 
the freemen exercise judicial power. Winthrop, in his paper 
on the negative voice, argued that the deputies, as such, had 
no judicial powers, but by association with the magistrates 
in the general court they obtained the right to share the ex- 
ercise of all the powers which the magistrates could employ 
in that court. When they were in judicial session the two 
houses sat together, and the deputies were put under a spe- 
cial oath. Cases were decided then by majority vote of the 
whole court. 

From the beginning the assistants heard and decided most 
of the suits which arose in the colony. As the institutions 

1 Mass. Col. Bees. II. 16. 

3 A case of appeal from the assistants to the general court was that of 
Saltonstall and D. Yale vs. Abraham Shiirt, 1648. Ibid. II. 231. 

8 Mass. Col. Recs. II. 98. * Winthrop, II. 255. 


of the colony grew and became differentiated, they clearly CHAP, 
appear as its highest regular judicial court. The close union 
of executive and judicial functions in their hands is illus- 
trated by the fact that, for a decade and probably longer after 
the founding of Massachusetts, the records of the assistants 
as a council and as a court were kept indiscriminately in the 
same book. A similar union of administrative and judicial 
powers in the same hands appears at the beginning in all the 
other colonies, and gives evidence of the rudimentary and 
undeveloped character of their institutions. It suggests the 
union of justice and administration in primitive communi- 
ties, where the activity of government was directed largely 
toward the keeping of the peace. The earliest cases which 
were tried by the assistants had distinctly this object, to 
decisively establish the supremacy of the founders of Mas- 
sachusetts over recalcitrants who appeared or were found 
within its borders. Thomas Morton, Philip Ratcliff, Henry 
Lyn, Thomas Dexter, were offenders of this order, and they 
were dealt with by a process as summary as the Star Chamber 
would have used in similar cases. The freedom of action, or, 
in other words, the discretionary power of the magistrates, 
was increased by the fact that they fell back on the Mosaic 
law for principles and precedents, when those which they 
were able to draw from English sources failed them. The 
same tendency to the administration of a summary type of 
frontier justice was also strengthened by the fact that few, 
even of the magistrates, were trained lawyers, while it was 
necessary that controversies should be settled with the least 
possible cost. Winthrop, Bellingham, and Humphrey were 
the only magistrates under the first charter who are known 
to have been lawyers, though possibly Pelham and Bradstreet 
may be added to the list.^ 

In the early days, before their powers were at all defined, 
a variety of cases came before them, as " felony," man- 
slaughter, theft, assault, suits for civil damages, debts, 
various offences of servants and apprentices, drunkenness, 
and other public disorders ; while coroner's inquests were 

1 Washburn, Judicial Histoiy of Massachusetts, 60 ; Savage, Winthiop, 


PABT instituted and wills proven. For several years practically 
^ all the judicial business in the colony was done by the 
assistants, and they acted as a police court for Boston. 
Though this was an exercise of power which in England 
would have been impossible, its continuance resulted in their 
becoming the chief judicial court of the colony. 

In 1636 it was enacted that the assistants should hold 
four judicial sessions annually at Boston, which were 
known as the great quarter courts.^ Three years later, in 
1639, the number^ of regular sessions was reduced to two, 
the one in the spring and the other in the fall. They were 
occupied with actions on appeal from inferior courts, 
divorce, and criminal cases extending to life, member, and 
banishment. These sessions were attended by the gov- 
ernor, deputy governor, and "the rest of the magistrates.'' 
In the case of a tie, the governor had the casting vote. 
The magistrate ^ who sat in the court from which an appeal 
was taken could not vote on the appealed case when it was be- 
fore the court of assistants. Special sessions might be called 
by the governor for the trial of capital cases. Because of 
the increase of business it was also enacted that those mem- 
bers of the court who lived near Boston should hold four ^ 
special sessions yearly to hear civil suits, provided they did 
not involve more than X20, and criminal cases which did 
not involve life, member, or banishment. In spite of the 
enactment of 1639, the custom of holding four sessions 
annually must have been continued, for, in 1649, we find an 
order* to the effect that the number of quarter courts, which 
had regularly been four, should be reduced to two each year. 

As the right of appeal to the court of assistants was 
unlimited, its jurisdiction was very broad,^ the intention 
apparently being to remove the necessity of the general court 
acting in any but public business. The court of assistants 
was currently held to possess a jurisdiction as broad as 
that of the three great English common law courts, while it 
also granted letters of administration. When the lower 

1 Mass. Col. Bees. L 169. « Mass. Col. Bees. L 276. 

2 Laws, ed. of 1880, 143. > Ihid. II. 286. 
s Ibid, 122. « Washburn, Judicial Histoiy of Massachusetts, 30. 


courts were instituted, the assistants ceased to hear so many chap. 
petty cases, or to act so much in the capacity of a local ^^ 
police court as they did in the earlier years of the colony. 

Much the same use was made of the jury, both in civil 
and criminal cases, as in the courts of England. Regularly 
the jurors found the fact, and the court declared the law, 
" or they may direct the jury to find according to the law."^ 
In the form of writs and in all matters of procedure, brevity 
and promptness were sought. In appeal cases the rule was 
that no additional evidence should be taken, but that the 
evidence which was presented from the lower court should 
be exclusively relied on. Proceedings before the court seem 
to have been mostly in writing. Because of the obstruc- 
tions to travel and the need which people were under to 
attend constantly to their domestic concerns, it was difficult 
to bring them to court to testify. For this reason deposi- 
tions were in many cases taken and sworn to in the homes 
of witnesses, and were read in court. When parties could 
appear, they testified orally, questions probably being asked 
by the court, and the substance of the testimony was taken 
down in writing. Attorneys or counsel, in the modern sense 
of those terms, there were few or none. A lawyer here or 
there, or a friend who was experienced in business, might 
assist in drawing papers, but it is not certain, even then, 
that they would appear or speak in court, as on behalf of a 
client. The general prejudice among the colonists against 
lawyers as a class, and the desire to keep down the cost of 
litigation, prevented the employment of attorneys. Suitors 
therefore had to manage their cases as best they could. In 
many instances they consulted magistrates privately, in 
advance, and tried thus to secure the favorable opinion of 
one or more of those who were to be their judges. So 
general did this custom become,^ that a law was passed 
providing that magistrates should not vote in the decision 
of civil cases in which their relatives or tenants were con- 
cerned, or in which they had given advice. The evidence 
taken in written form was given to the jury, and upon that 

1 Maas. Col. Recs. II. 21. 

< Winthrop, II. 42-44 ; Washburn, op, cU. 61 ; Mass. CoL Recs. 11. 39. 


PART their verdicts were rendered. The verdicts were brief, and 
• J were often delivered sealed to the magistrates. 

The records which have survived indicate that the admin- 
istration of justice was regular and systematic, that great 
respect for the order and dignity of the magistrates in and 
out of court was enforced, while on the other hand civil 
rights, on ordinary occasions, were duly guaranued. The 
magistrates maintained a somewhat patriarchal attitude, and 
in the justice which they administered there was a large 
element of equity. Their religious opinions naturally led 
them to seek, when possible, the reform of the criminal, as 
well as the satisfaction of the ends of justice. The impres- 
sion gained from the records is that, on the whole, the decla- 
rations contained in the first clauses of the Body of Liberties,^ 
guarantying the resident against arbitrary judicial action, 
were made good in practice. The spirit of justice was there, 
although by no means all its modern safeguards, such as elabo- 
rate judicial formalities and rules of evidence, the activity of 
attorneys, and the presumption that the accused is innocent 
until he is proven guilty. 

This means that offenders against whom popular prejudice 
ran high, who placed themselves in antagonism to the cher- 
ished plans or views of the magistrates and freemen, could 
not expect mild treatment, or even justice, from the tribu- 
nals which then existed. The same was true in England, 
and, indeed, among all civilized people at that time. Under 
such conditions the jury trial, even if it was permitted, 
afforded little protection. The control of the bench and of 
government attorneys, where there were such, over the ad- 
mission and interpretation of evidence was almost unlimited, 
and before them the accused stood helpless. In Massachu- 
setts the magistrates were both judges and attorneys, and if 
they chose to exercise their power to crush an offender, he 
had no protection against them. These statements apply 
to such trials as those of the Antinomians and Quakers; 
with qualification also to the trials of the unfortunates who 
were accused of witchcraft. The accounts which have come 
from Quaker sources concerning the trials of their co-reli- 

1 Colonial Laws, ed. of 1880, 83. 


gionists in Massachusetts show that, on some occasions, the CHAP, 
magistrates there could act and talk as brutally as did the ^ ^' ^ 
most notorious among the judges of the same period in 

The trial of Mrs. Hutchinson, which was at the same time 
a legislative hearing in a case of the highest political impor- 
tance, was characterized by great informality and great par- 
tiality. The jury was not employed. The magistrates and 
clergy, who were the prosecutors, furnished, with a few excep- 
tions, all the witnesses, and were at the same time the most 
influential of the judges. Nearly all the testimony was 
given by and for them. Except in the case of two of the 
clergy, it was not given under oath, and no attempt was 
made to sift it or test its worth. Mrs. Hutchinson had no 
counsel and she questioned witnesses very little. The gov- 
ernor presided and, with an occasional interruption, conducted 
the examination of Mrs. Hutchinson. It was essentially a 
colloquy between her and the court, interrupted at times by 
statements from others and by her speech respecting her 
revelations. Throughout the trial the court made no effoi*t 
to conceal its prejudice against the accused, and the spirit 
which it exhibited would have well become an attorney for 
the government. The same is true of the trial of Wheel- 
wright and of all accused persons who were considered to be 
foes of the Puritan system of religion and morals. Trials 
in the proper sense of the word they were not, but relentless 
inquisitions used by the government for the purpose of crush- 
ing opposition. By means of them, offences which differed 
in form from any that could well have been committed in 
England were punished by heavy penalties, while scant 
regard was paid to the rules of English procedure. In these 
proceedings, as in all others before the Massachusetts courts 
prior to 1660, no mention was made of the king or of his 
authority. But, as has already been suggested, the spirit 
shown in these famous cases was the exception rather than 
the rule. If sweeping conclusions were drawn from these 
cases, numerous though they were, the facts of history would 
be seriously misrepresented. The administration of justice 
in the Puritan colonies proceeded in an even and steady 


PABT course, according to precedents which were a free adaptation 
from English practice, and in general with a due regard to 
the rights of all concerned. Only for brief periods and in 
a special class of cases was it diverted from this channel by 
the influence of passion. 

But the activities of the assistants as judges were not con- 
fined to their functions in the central court of the colony. 
They were felt far and wide in the lower courts and in the 
system of local justice. In 1636 it was ordered that a court 
should be held quarterly at Ipswich, Salem, Newtown, and 
Boston. In 1639 ^ the decisive step toward the formation of 
counties was taken by the establishment of county courts. 
Four counties were thus formed, — Suffolk, Middlesex, 
Essex, and Norfolk. It was provided that courts in these 
jurisdictions should be held by the magistrates who lived 
in the respective counties, or by any other magistrate who 
could attend them, or by such as the general court should 
appoint for the purpose, together with such persons of worth 
as the general court should designate from time to time on 
nomination by the freemen of the towns to be joined as 
associates in commission with the assistants. In'each county 
there should be in all five magistrates and associates, and 
the presence of three of them — one being a magistrate — 
should be required as the necessary quorum for holding a 
court. In 1650 an act was passed which provided that at 
the time when votes were cast for town magistrates, asso- 
ciates should be elected by ballot in the towns of their re- 
spective counties. They were then to be presented before 
the court of election for its confirmation.^ The* county 
courts were given power to hear and determine both civil 
and criminal cases. Their jurisdiction extended to cases of 
divorce, to civil suits which did not involve more than ,£10, 
and to criminal cases which did not extend to life, member, 
or banishment. Like the court of assistants, they might 
employ jury trial. The courts should appoint clerks and 
other necessary officers. Their criminal jurisdiction was 

1 Mass. Recs. L 169 ; Laws (1889), 143. 

3 Ibid, IIL 211 ; V. 31. See many instances of confinnation by the general 


analogous to that of quarter sessions in England, and in that CHAP, 
capacity they performed a great variety of functions. They ^' 
appointed commissioners to hear small causes, trustees of 
public legacies, persons to lay out highways, a master of 
the house of correction, searchers of money, and viewers 
of fish. They confirmed the nomination of military officers, 
apportioned charges for the repair of bridges ; they licensed 
innkeepers, and packers of sturgeon, and punished violation 
of licenses; they ordered the removal of obstructions on 
highways, punished idle persons, punished excess of apparel, 
compelled restitution of overcharge by merchants, determined 
rates of wages in case of dispute, provided for the poor ; they 
admitted freemen who were church members, fixed ministers' 
allowances, saw that they were paid, inquired into the pub- 
lication of heretical doctrines, punished heretics and pro- 
faners of the Sabbath, saw that Indians were civilized and 
received religious instruction, did all varieties of probate 
business, punished those who carried on unlicensed trade 
with the Indians. FuU provision was made for appeal to 
the court of assistants. 

In 1638, to avoid the cost necessitated by bringing small 
causes before the assistants, it was enacted that any magis- 
trate, in the town where he dwelt, might hear and determine 
at his discretion all causes wherein the debt or damage 
involved did not exceed twenty shillings, and that in towns 
where no magistrate lived the general court should from time 
to time commission three men for the purpose. Later, the 
county courts appointed these on request or approval, and 
their jurisdiction was extended to cases involving forty shil- 
lings. When one of the commissioners was a party to a 
case, the selectmen might act as judges; they might also try 
offences against by-laws of towns, when the penalty did not 
exceed twenty shillings. The jurisdiction of commissioners 
of small causes was confined to their own towns, but, when 
the parties lived in two different towns, the plaintiff had the 
right to choose the town in which the trial should be held. 
The commissioners could not enforce any judgment by impris- 
onment, and when a party refused to give satisfaction and 
had no property in the town, they could only remit the case 


PART to the county court for execution. The criminal jurisdiction 
, of the commissioners was confined to the issue of search 
warrants and warrants for the arrest of offenders, when no 
court or magistrates were at hand to issue such orders. By 
an act of 1663 these commissioners were authorized to take 
testimony of witnesses in civil and criminal cases, and to 
exercise the authority formerly given to associates of the 
county courts in administering oaths and taking the acknowl- 
edgment of deeds and of surrender of right of dowry made 
out of court. 

In every town there was also " a clerk of the writs," who 
was chosen by the town and approved by the county courts. 
He was authorized ^^ to grant summons and attachments in 
civil actions" and ^^ summons for witnesses," "to grant replev- 
ins and to take bonds with sufficient security to the party 
to prosecute the suit." Appeals lay from all lesser magis- 
trates and commissioners to the county courts. 

Until 1685 the general court had exercised original 
chancery jurisdiction, but its business had become so great 
that it was necessary to create another court to relieve it of 
a part of its business. An act was then passed ^ which pro- 
vided that the magistrates of each county court should be 
authorized to act as a court of chancery. On the exhibition 
to them of an information " concerning matters of apparent 
equity," they were to grant summons and examine the parties 
to the suit and their witnesses under oath, and issue decrees 
according to the rule of equity, %ecundum aequum et bonum. 
Appeals might be granted to the court of assistants, and 
the magistrates who had heard the case might then state the 
reasons of their judgment, but were not permitted to vote on 
the case in the assistants* court. The judgment of the as- 
sistants was final, unless on appeal the general court saw fit 
to order a rehearing before the magistrates of the county 
court, with liberty of appeal as before. In arduous and diffi- 
cult cases the general court itself might admit a hearing at 
its own bar. It therefore appears that the establishment of 
a court of chancery merely involved an extension of the 
powers of the county court. 

1 Mass. Reo8. V. 477. 


An order ^ of 1636, passed when the subject of preparing CHAP, 
written laws was broached, described the system under which 
the magistrates had acted and were still to act in many 
affairs as long as the colony charter remained in force. They 
were to hear and to determine cases according to law, but, 
where there was no law, ^^ then as near the law of God as 
they can." In administering criminal justice, as well as in 
all other relations, that was the rule by which they professed 
to be guided. This gave rise to an attack on their discretion 
as judges which was even more persistent than that which 
was directed against them in their administrative capacity. 
The objection was raised that, in imposing sentences, as well 
as in arresting, detaining, or otherwise proceeding with 
accused persons, the magistrates acted arbitrarily, under a 
discretion which was practically unlimited. Partiality, 
cruelty, all forms of injustice might result from such absolute 
power. Therefore the deputies, with Saltonstall and Bel- 
lingham among the magistrates, demanded that specific penal- 
ties for crime should be prescribed in the laws. This was a 
part of the special effort they made, culminating in 1644, to 
reduce the discretion of the executive to a minimum. It 
was the same effort which their contemporaries were making 
in England, which was also made in American provinces, and 
which recurs under every system of government. But, 
though justified, from the nature of the case it could be only 
partially successful, and its success came far more through 
the gradual development of the written law of the colony 
than as the result of special agitation. Some progress had 
been made when in the first section of the Body of Liberties, 
echoing the spirit of section 39 of Magna Carta, it was 
declared, ^^ No man's honor or good name shall be stained, no 
man's person shall be arrested, restrained, banished, dismem- 
bered, nor any ways punished, no man shall be deprived of 
his wife or children, no man's goods or estate shall be taken 
away from him, nor anyway indammaged under color of law 
or countenance of authority, unless it be by virtue or equity 
of some express law of the country warranting the same, 
established by a general court and sufiSciently published.'* 

1 MasB. CoL RecB. 1. 174. 

VOL. I — o 


FART But even this enactment carried with it the exception that in 


defect of a law covering a particular case, the law of God 
should be followed. Sp9cific guarfinties, and especially a 
rational procedure in trials, were needed, if this declaration 
was to avail much as a protection against injustice. 

The elders, when the whole subject was referred to them,^ 
fell back for their authority upon the Old Testament, hold- 
ing that specific penalties ought to be prescribed for capital 
crimes, but enlarging on the necessity of leaving an oppor- 
tunity for the judge to exercise his discretion in determin- 
ing the punishment of lighter crimes and offences. They 
very reasonably aivtcgte^ in general the specification of 
maximum and minimum penalties in the statutes. Winthncp 
argued the question out in characteristic fashion in his tract 
on Arbitrary Government.^ In this he referred briefly to 
the fact that in English law judges and juries were allowed 
great freedom in awarding damages in cases of slander, tres- 
pass, battery, breach of covenant, and the like. But nearly 
his whole prolonged argument hinged upon the Mosaic 
legislation, and the discretion employed by the Deity and 
his agents in inflicting penalties upon offenders among the 
ancient Hebrews. " By these it appears that the oflBcers of 
this body politic have a rule to walk by in all their admin- 
istrations, which rule is the word of God, and such conclu- 
sions and deductions as are, or shall be, regularly drawn from 
thence." From the fact that God in his law specified few 
penalties, except for capital crimes, Winthrop inferred that 
he intended human lawgivers to do the same. According 
to Winthrop it was not the divine method to lay down 
many and definite precedents, but to leave it to the judges 
to adjust penalties to offences, that being the only way in 
which substantial justice could be done. In this way the 
judge could mingle admonition with the sentence, and thus 
fulfil another divine ordinance, warranted by Scripture, as 
appeared in Solomon's admonition to Adonijah, and that of 
Nehemiah to those who broke the Sabbath.^ Judges were 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. II. 93. > Life and Letters, IV. 445 et seq. 

s ** The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the Masters 
of Assemblies, ... by these, my son, be admonished,** Eccl. zii. 11, 12. '^ A 


gods upon earth, and it was their duty to hold forth the CHAP, 
wisdom and mercy of God, as well as his justice. If they 
would keep an open mind in the hour of pronouncing judg- 
ment, they would be taught what sentence to declare, and 
would thus imitate most closely the divine method in dis- 
pensing justice. If fixed rules and penalties were prescribed, 
said Winthrop, it would be by men naturally as fallible as 
the judges, and those who at the same time look at the sub- 
ject in the abstract, without the experience and the divine 
calling which comes to men on t!he bench. Still he admitted 
that for the security of men's estates against heavy fines, it 
would be well to have a general law like Magna Carta, and 
certain restrictions as to the inflicting of capital punishment. 
It would also be well if each court were kept by not more 
than three or five magistrates, and the others were left free 
for greater attention to the review of cases on appeal or 
petition. These were the only changes he could suggest, 
while he strongly contended that, since they had the rule 
of God's word to go by, the administration of justice in 
Massachusetts could not be arbitrary. 

Winthrop, as the exponent of Puritan orthodoxy, was 
to have one more encounter with the opponents of judi- 
cial and administrative discretion. This had its origin in 
the somewhat famous case of the Government vs. Peter 
Hobart and others of the town of Hingham. The contro- 
versy arose in 1645, near the close. of Winthrop's career, and 
was occasioned by the course which he as deputy governor 
pursued in committing and binding over parties for trial. ^ As 
had long been the custom among the towns, Anthony Emes, 
who for some years had been lieutenant of the militia com- 
pany of Hingham, was chosen captain by his fellow-towns- 
men, in the spring of 1645, and his name was presented to 
the standing council for confirmation. But because of some 
slight offence taken against him by certain inhabitants of 
the town, before he was confirmed, one Bozoun Allen was 
elected in his place and presented to the magistrates. The 

reproof entereth inore4nto a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool,'' 
Prov. xvii. 10. 

1 Winthrop, II. 271 et seq. 


FABT magistrates refused to confirm Allen, and charged all to 
keep the peace and every militia oj£cer his place till the 
general court met, to which the case should be referred. 
But when the next training-day came, Allen's friends re- 
fused to train under Emes. Emes referred them to the 
order of the magistrates, but it was scorned. One declared 
that it was signed by only three or four of the assistants, 
others that they had the right to choose their own officers, 
and demanded what the magistrates had to do with the case. 
Then, amid tumult, the majority of the company chose 
Allen. He accepted and took command. About two-thirds 
of the company followed him. 

The scene was then transferred to the church. Of this 
Peter Hobart was pastor, and three of his brothers were 
active supporters of Allen. Emes was called to answer 
before the church to the charge that, on training-day, he 
had denied that any one in authority had commanded him 
to lay down his office. He denied the charge, and testi- 
mony about it was conflicting. Hobart, the pastor, took 
up actively against Emes, and urged that he be excom- 

When the magistrates heard of these disturbances, three 
of them, with Winthrop, met at Boston and summoned be- 
fore them the three Hobarts and two others. This so 
offended the clergyman, who was of robust temper, that 
he appeared with his brothers. Such high words followed 
between him and the magistrates that he was threatened 
with arrest. The accused were then bound over to appear 
at the next court of assistants. Later, five others were 
sent for because of untruths they had uttered about the 
magistrates at the church meeting. The five met the 
deputy alone, and demanded the cause of their summons, 
as well as the names of their accusers. For the former he 
referred them to Secretary Rawson, while as to the latter, 
he said that a judge at his discretion might refuse to dis- 
close the names of accusers until the day of trial. They 
then refused to give bail, and two of them were committed. 

The court of election met before the date of the next 
court of assistants, and about ninety of the inhabitants of 


Hingham, with the minister's name at the head,^ petitioned CHAP, 
it that the case might be heard by the general court. The ^ ^^ , 
statement was made in the document that the principles 
of English liberty had been violated by the imprisonment 
of persons for criticising the government. The deputies 
at once expressed their readiness to kear the case, and 
asked the concurrence of the magistrates. At this the 
magistrates were offended, because the lower house had not 
first conferred privately with them and formally ascertained 
the names of the accused and the nature of the charge 
against them. On the demand of the deputies the peti- 
tioners then singled out the deputy governor, and under- 
took to act as his prosecutors. It being Winthrop's desire 
that the case should have a public hearing, for the effect it 
might have on the issue so long mooted between the magis- 
trates and deputies, the assistants agreed. In the presence 
of the elders and " a great assembly of people," the vener- 
able deputy governor took his place within the bar and sat 
uncovered, as might any criminal, while his trial proceeded.* 
Now began, under the scanty semblance of judicial forms, 
one of the most prolonged and ardent party struggles in 
the history of colonial Massachusetts. The trial was but 
the prelude to it. In that Winthrop was easily able to 
show that his conduct had been in harmony not only with 
law and practice in England, but with usage in Massachu- 
setts. He had acted upon credible information of ^^ mutinous 
practice," and "slighting of authority" at Hingham. He 
declared that he knew no law of God or man which required 
him to make known to a party his accusers — who were the 
witnesses for the prosecution — before the case came to a 
hearing. Though it might be thought that at some point he 
had erred in judgment, — which he was scarcely ready to 
admit, — nothing criminal could be laid to his charge. Still, 
however, two of the magistrates, — presumably Saltonstall 
and Bellingham, — together with the majority of the dep- 
uties, thought the magistrates had too much power, and 

^ The petition is in Child's New Englands Jonas cast up at London, Force, 
Tracts, IV. 

s Winthrop, H 275 et uq. 


PART that the liberties of the freemen were in danger. The 
V ' J remainder of the magistrates and nearly one-half of the 
deputies were of the opposite opinion, and thought, if 
the excessive " slighting " of authority, which was in vogue, 
was not checked, the government would degenerate into a 
democracy. So ailment were feelings on this point that 
sometimes, during the trial, proceedings were tumultuous. 
When the time came for a verdict, the deputies wrangled 
for a whole day without reaching a decision. They then 
sent to the magistrates for their views. The magistrates, 
after deliberation, agreed upon four points : that the peti- 
tion was false and scandalous, that all concerned in it were 
offenders, though in different degrees ; that those who had 
been bound over, with those who were committed and 
with all the petitioners, should be censured ; that the 
deputy governor should be fully acquitted. Over these 
points the deputies spent *^ divers days," consulting the 
magistrates two or three times during the interval. They 
agreed with the assistants concerning the petition, but 
would not agree to a censure or to the full acquittal of 
Winthrop. The magistrates refused to yield. Thus a 
deadlock ensued between the houses which was prolonged 
for nearly three months, the trial beginning in the middle 
of May and an agreement not being reached till the fifth of 
August. During the interval, the legislature took a recess 
of one week. The deputies were finally brought to terms 
by the conviction that, if the case was not otherwise dis- 
posed of, it would have to be referred to the elders as 
arbitrators. This they did not desire, for they knew that 
the clergy "were more careful to uphold the honor and 
power of the magistrates than themselves well liked of.'^ 
To avoid this a committee of conference was arranged 
between the houses. By this the fines which should be 
imposed upon the Hingham offenders were agreed upon, 
and it was also resolved that Winthrop should be fully 
acquitted. The decision was accepted, and thus the long 
conflict over the discretion of the magistrates was ended. 
Winthrop took his seat again on the bench, with the full 
consciousness that he had been vindicated, and that the 



cause ^ for which he had stood so long had won its final CHAP, 

As a fitting conclusion of the whole matter, Winthrop, as 
soon as he had returned to the magistrate's bench, craved the 
indulgence of the assembly while he made a *^ little speech.'' 
With modesty and true eloquence, after admitting that mag- 
istrates might err in judgment and insisting that for that 
reason they should be held responsible chiefly for their 
fidelity, he gave a brief exposition of the relations between 
authority and liberty. It is one of the rare gems of Puritan 
literature, and contains the root idea of modem republicanism. 
After distinguishing between natural and civil liberty, and 
showing how the former was synonymous with anarchy, he 
explained that the latter revealed itself in the covenant be- 
tween God and man, in the moral law, and in politic cove- 
nants and constitutions among men. This liberty, said he, 
"is the proper end and object of authority " ; and, he added 
with almost Miltonic phrase, '' is a liberty to that only which 
is good, just, and honest." " This liberty is maintained and 
exercised in a way of subjection to authority ; it is the same 
kind of liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." After 
gracefully illustrating it under the simile of marriage and of 
the subjection of the church to Christ, the deputy concluded 
with a practical lesson, that, if the people wished to enjoy 
the lawful liberties of which they had become possessed, 
they must quietly and cheerfully submit to the authority 
which was set over them. " So shall your liberties be pre- 
served, in upholding the honor and power of authority 
amongst you." 

1 Winthrop, on pages 282-286 of his second volome, sums up the main 
points of the entire controveny. 




The chief features of the governmental system of Mas- 
sachusetts, the typical representative of the corporate col- 
ony, have now been described. It was a complete and 
well-rounded whole. It sufficed for all the purposes of the 
colony without the interposition of any outside power whatso- 
ever. The executive in its organization was as self-contained 
as was the legislature. The structure itself, as well as the 
process by, which it was developed, suggest independence, 
the resolve on the part of its architects to go their own way 
in paths hitherto untrodden. The prime cause of this is to . 
be found, as already indicated, not in political or economic ) 
forces, but in the religious motive. The founders of the Pu- ' 
ritan commonwealth of New England were in a preeminent 
sense self-conscious. It is true that they brought with them 
to the new world law and institutions of government to which 
they had been accustomed at home. In common with the 
settlers of the other colonies, they were also subject to the 
influence of frontier life and of comparative isolation upon a 
remote continent. But in addition to that they were a^vo- • 
cates of a definite religious system, which they came to the 
new world to put into practice. That this was their purpose 
they never lost an opportunity to declare. So important did 
this system seem to them that they made all interests, social 
and political, contribute to its maintenance and advancement. ' 
From it originated the motive which led them to transfer the 
government of the colony into New England and to renounce 
forever trade and land speculation as a corporate function, 
f Relations with the home government, intercourse with the 
neighboring colonies, conduct toward immigrants, the 

200 ^ 


bestowment and withdrawal of citizenship, the political CHAP, 
and social life of town and commonwealth, were ultimately ™* 
determined by their bearing on the supreme question — the 
maintenance of the Puritan system of belief. Said the gen- 
eral court in its first letter to Charles II: "This viz. our 
liberty to walke in the faith of the gospell with all good 
conscience according to the order of the gospell, . • . was 
the cause of our transporting ourselves, with our wives, our 
little ones and our substance, from that pleasant land over the 
Atlanticke Ocean into this vast and waste wilderness, choos- 
ing rather the pure Scripture worship, with a good conscience, 
in a poore, remote wilderness, amongst the heathens, than the 
pleasures of England with submission to the impositions of 
the then so disposed and so far prevayling hierarchic, which 
we could not do without an evill conscience." ^ 

Calvin^s Institutes of the Christian Religion was the chief 
religious and political text-book of the English Puritans. 
In the light of Calvin they interpreted the Bible, and from 
his standpoint they viewed the history of the early church. 
When circumstances made them a political party, the courses \ 
of policy which they followed were consistent with the prin- 
ciples and practice of the Genevan reformer. 

From the Latin Fathers Calvin drew the doctrine of the 
sovereignty of God, and he followed it relentlessly to its con- 
clusion. The Bible, containing the law of God, was to be 
accepted as an authority from the utterances of which there 
was no appeal. To the commands of Christ and the apostles, 
therein set forth, the strictest obedience must be given.^ At 
the same time full validity was claimed for precedents drawn 
from the Mosaic system. Calvin would banish everything u 
which thrust itself between the soul of the individual wor- [ \ 
shipper and God. According to his conception the church 
was a community of believers, by which the commands of 
God were obeyed in the preaching of the word and the 
administering of the sacraments, and to which no persons 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. IVi. 450. 

> Institutes, Book I. Chaps. 7, 8 ; Book IV. Chaps. 8, 9. The doctrine is 
broaght out with special force in Chapter 10 of the same book, where Calvin 
attacks the traditions of the Catholic church. 


PABT should find admission until their piety had been subjected to 
rigorous tests.^ The life of each member was constantly 
exposed to the scrutiny and criticism of others. The strict- 
est discipline, too, was enforced. All were compelled to 
prove, so far as by human evidence it was possible, that they 
were the elect of God. 

The organization of such a church could hardly fail in 
theory to be democratic. Christ was regarded as the sover- 
eign of the church, and under him the clergy was an official 
class, a ministry, whose authority came from the church 
itself.^ To the church Christ committed the power of the 
keys. Its members, united by covenant, chose the ministry 
and inflicted excommunication. But the possession of these 
powers by the congregation must not lead to disorder or 
anarchy. Instead, freedom of thought and practice must be 
limited, and power necessary to effect this must be bestowed 
on the clergy. In this way a strong aristocratic tendency 
was introduced, which, if the progress of the system were 
resisted, might become predominant. 

Aeoording to this system an organic connection existed 
between church and state. It was the duty of the church to 
create a perfect Christian society, and of the state to furnish 
the necessary external conditions. Though the sphere of the 
church was far higher and the issues toward which it labored 
were loftier and more permanent than those of the state, 
they could not be reached without the assistance of the 
civil power. Hence CalviiV defended governments against 
the assaults of Antinomians, declaring that lawful magis- 
trates were divinely commiasioned, that their work was a 
part of the plan of Providence, and that to resist them was 
to attack the sovereignty of God. But on the other hand, 
since religion is the basis of public morality, the state needs 
the support of the church, for from the teachings of the lat- 
ter comes the moral health without which successful govern- 
ment is impossible. In the name, then, of public order and 
for the security of property, Calvin would have the state 
punish idolatry, blasphemy, and a long series of offences 
against religion. Viewed from one standpoint, his doctrine 
1 InsUtutes, Book IV. Chap. 1. « Ibid. IV. Chap. 12. 


implied separation of church from state, yet over against CHAP, 
this stood the necessity of their indissoluble union. Neither ^^ ^ 

could survive without the support of the other. This idea 
seemed to open the way toward toleration, but it was speedily 
closed again by the necessity of suppressing all deviation 
from a strict moral and religious code. The church assumed 
supreme control over opinion. The tendency toward ration- 
alism was checked by the demand that allegiance be sworn to 
the text of Scripture as interpreted by unchanging canons 
of criticism. Finally, the tendency toward democracy in 
ecclesiastical and civil government was counterbalanced by 
the necessity for the maintenance of order and authority. 
The more aristocratic phases of this system were reproduced 
by the Presbyterians of England and Scotland; the more 
democratic by Robert Brown and his followers, the Sepa- 
ratists. An intermediate position ^ came to be occupied by 
the Puritans of New England. 

The settlers of Massachusetts left England just as the 
Puritans were becoming a political party. A Separatist 
church, as will be explained in a subsequent chapter, was 
already in existence in Plymouth. Higginson, Skelton, 
and Bright, the three ministers whom the company had 
sent to Salem, had. been appointed members of the local 
council and were thus given a part in civil affairs.' It is 
well known that the Rev. JohnD^Xfijiport, already prominent 
among the young clergymen of London who inclined to non- 
conformity, was a member of the Massachusetts company and 
was consulted about questions respecting which his opinion * 
would carry weight. The teaching of religion and good 
morals and their enforcement were recommended in the 
letters of the company to Endicott. These all are indica- 
tions that the clergy were to bear a prominent part in the 
development of this colony, though suggesting little more 
than what occurred in the early history of Virginia. 

According to the credible tradition reported by Cotton 
Mather,^ Higginson, on leaving England, declared that they 
went, not as separatists from the church but only from its 

^ Dexter, Congregationalism as seen in its Literature, 403. 
> Toung, 14. s J^Iagnalia, Book IIL 


PART corruptions, and that their purpose was "to practice the 
V 7 positive part of church reformation, and propagate the gospel 

in America." This was a proclamation of nonconformity, 
and the meaning of the phrase, "positive part of church 
reformation," it was left to events to reveal. Because of 
certain doings of the ministers on the outward voyage which 
they considered irregular, John and Samuel Brown, mem- 
bers of the council and men of standing among the colonists, 
after their arrival at Salem, gathered a company apart and 
had the Book of Common Prayer read to them. This estab- 
lishes the fact that it was not used in the religious meetings 
at Salem. A spirited controversy followed between the 
Browns and the ministers, in which the latter had the sup- 
port of Governor Endicott and the colonists. Finding that 
the speeches of the two brothers tended to "mutiny and 
faction," the governor told them that "New England was 
no place for such as they," and sent them home on the re- 
turning ship. Their case, together with the damages which 
they claimed to have suffered, was referred to committees of 
the company, but what decision was reached we are not told.^ 
With the organization of the church at Salem, in July and 
August, 1629, the nonconformity of the colonists, respecting 
which the Browns complained, blossomed out into practical 
* Independency or Separatism. The congregation met on 
July 6, and, after listening to a prayer and sermon, chose 
Skelton as its pastor, and Higginson, who was already in 
orders, as its teacher. Higginson and three or four of the 
gravest men laid their hands on Skelton's head and prayed. 
Then Higginson was set apart for the work of the ministry 
in the same way by his colleague. Thereupon Higginson 
drew up a confession of faith and church covenant, " accord- 
ing to the Scripture," and copies of this were delivered to 
thirty persons. Invitation ' was also sent to Plymouth to 
send messengers, or, as they would now be called, delegates. 
On August 6 the congregation met again. The ministers 
prayed and preached, and thirty persons, by assenting to the 
covenant, associated themselves together as a church. Then 
the ministers were ordained by imposition of hands of some 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. L 61-54, 60, 69, 407. 


of the brethren selected by the church. Governor Bradford CHAP. 


and others, coming by sea from Plymouth, were delayed by 
unfavorable winds, and hence did not arrive until the ser- 
vices had been in progress for some time ; but they gave the 
Salem church the right hand of fellowship^ and wished it 
all success in its beginnings. We have the express testi- 
mony of Endicott to the fact that Dr. Fuller of Plymouth, 
who the previous spring had been ministering to the sick 
at Salem, had convinced him of the biblical authority for 
the Separatist or democratic model of church polity. This 
fact, together with the natural influence of removal from 
England into a new continent whither the arm of the bishops 
could scarcely reach, accounts for the change which we see 
so quickly wrought in Salem. The expulsion of the Browns 
proves that Endicott at least intended that the newly or- 
ganized church should not be disturbed by any Anglican 

When Winthrop and his fellow-voyagers left England, 
more formal and elaborate expression was given to the affec- 
tion with which the mother church was regarded by them.' 
" We desire," wrote they, " you would be pleased to take notice 
of the principals and body of our Company, as those who 
esteem it our honor to call the Church of England, from 
whence we rise, our dear mother: . . . ever acknowledg- 
ing that such hope and part as we have obtained in the 
common salvation, we have received in her bosom and 
sucked it from her breasts." A fervent desire for her 
welfare and enlargement was expressed, while her prayers 
were sought on behalf of the enterprise which the colonists 
had undertaken. Of the sincerity of this utterance we have 
no reason to doubt, but in connection with it notice should 
be taken of the equally ardent conviction, expressed by 
Winthrop in his Modell of Christian Charity^ that some- 
thing of more than ordinary importance to the religious 
world was to result from the settlement of Massachusetts. 
White, the Puritan minister of Dorchester, said with some 

1 Bradford, 266 ; Morton^s Memorial ; Felt, Ecclesiastical History of New 
England, I. 113 et seq, ; Dexter, 415. 
s The Hamble Request, Toong, 295. 


PABT truth, in the Planter's Plea^ that under the new conditions 
^ in America both religious and political differences might 

Under the liberty which circumstances afforded, the Salem 
^ model was substantially followed in the founding of all the 
local churches planted about Massachusetts bay as the result 
of Winthrop's migration. Still it is true that among most 
of those bodies the spirit of Separatism was less strong than 
in Salem. Rev. George Phillips, who became pastor of the 
church at Watertown, expressly disclaimed the validity of 
his episcopal ordination. In the covenant which was adopted 
by the members of his church, all idolatry, superstition, 
human traditions, and inventions were renounced.^ Election 
and imposition of hands were resorted to in filling the offices 
of the church at Charlestown, but the latter ceremony was 
accomplished, says Winthrop,^ with the protestation that it 
was only a sign of election and not of an intent that the 
teacher, Mr. Wilson, should renounce his English orders. 
The same forms were resorted to in organizing the Boston 
church, though no mention is made of the protestation.^ All 
followed the same general model. The description given by 
Thomas Lechford,* of the method of gathering churches 
which was followed about 1640, confirms what has been said. 

He says that a convenient or competent number came to- 
gether publicly and confessed their sins and professed their 
faith. Then they entered into a church covenant "to for- 
sake the Devill and all his works, and the vanities of the 
sinfull world, and all their former lusts, and corruptions 
they have lived and walked in, and to cleave unto and obey 
the Lord Jesus Christ, as their only Priest and Prophet, and 
to walk together with that Church, in the unity of the faith, 
and brotherly love, and to submit themselves one unto an- 
other, in all the ordinances of Christ, to mutuall edification 
and comfort, to watch over and support one another." This 
was the essential step in the process ; the adoption of the 
covenant — which was really a social compact — made them 
a visible church. After it had been adopted, officers were 

1 Felt, I. 13S. • Ibid. L 114. 

a Winthrop, L 88. * Plain DeaUng, 12. 


elected, and on a later day were ordained or installed in chap. 
their places. In the Platform of Church Disciplines^ which ^ ^^ 
was adopted by the New England churches in 1649, a church 
is defined as ^^ a company of people combined together for 
the worship of God." As it was the covenant which made 
the children of Israel "a church and people unto God," so 
among the Puritans it was through it alone that ^^ members 
can have church-power over one another mutually."' 

The principal ofi&cers of the local body were the pastor, 
teacher, and ruling elder. Of these the special work of the 
first named was practical exhortation to right living ; that 
of the teacher was the inculcation of doctrine.' But these 
functions were often confounded or united in the hands of 
the same person. The ruling elder was always a layman, 
and though by no means to the exclusion of the pastor and 
teacher, he was still the regular administrative officer of the 
church. He summoned and dismissed the congregation,^ 
cooperated in the admission and excommunication of mem- 
bers and in the ordination of officers, prepared business for 
the church meetings and presided over the same, watched 
the conduct of members, and admonished those who needed 
it ; when called for, he visited the sick and guided the church 
^^ in all matters whatsoever pertaining to church administra- 
tions and actions." 

The majority of the Massachusetts Puritans continued for 
a time to affirm, especially in their writings and on public 
occasions, that they still held communion with the Church 
of England. Thomas Dudley affirmed this, and, with others, 
strongly deprecated being called a Brownist.* One of the 
first acts of Roger Williams, which provoked sinister opinions 
concerning him, was his refusal to join with the church at 
Boston,' because its members would not publicly declare 
their repentance for having communed with the churches of 
England while they lived there. 

^ Mather, Magnalia, Book V. 

> Ibid. Among the passages of Scripture cited are Gen. xvii. 7 ; Eph. ii. 
12, 18 ; Ex. xix. 6, 8 ; Deut. xxix. 12, 13. 

* Platform of Charch Discipline, Chap. 6. 

* Ibid. Chap. 7. 

* Letter to the Countess of Lincoln, Young, 331. • Winthrop, I. 63. 


PART / Frequently the elders, in explaining or defending their 
y/course to English critics, repeat the statement that they 
j have separated only from the " corruptions " of the English 
^Church, meaning its polity and ritual ; but they could listen 
to the preaching of the gospel by i\s clergy. New England 
clergymen, when revisiting England, doubtless did this. It 
was stated, probably with truth, that those who believed in 
episcopacy as the only true system attended the churches 
of New England without molestation so long as they kept 
their opinions to themselves.^ It was only occasionally in- 
sisted by a congregation that a candidate for its pulpit should 
repounce his orders. 

But on the other hand, as time passed, actual communion 
Airith English churches ceased. From the first the New Eng- 
land Puritans had renounced two of the most essential parts 
•"of the Anglican system, episcopacy and the ritual. The con- 
nection which they maintained with the civil power was far 
[different in form from that which existed in England. With 
the successful progress of the Civil War, it became unneces- 
sary to keep up the pretence of communion from motives of 
policy. Soon after that date the New England church sys- 
ym was completed, and references to the English Church, 
except as a rival or hostile body, disappear. Thus all pre- 
tence of ecclesiastical connection with Anglicanism ceased, 
and New England became in that domain practically inde- 
pendent of the mother country. 

The ministry was the only learned or professional class 
''then in New England. They were men whose characters and 
attainments alone would have given them great influence 
in such communities ; but the fact that they and^the magis- 
trates were fully agreed that the main object of the colony 
should be to uphold the Puritan faith and to form a society 
in harmony therewith greatly increased their power. Be- 
lieving that their form of church government was of divine 
origin, they nurtured, expanded, and defended it in sermon 
and treatise. Cotton, Hooker, Richard Mather, Eliot, and 
Davenport led in the discussion, which lasted for a quarter 
^ of a century. All the ministers took some share in it. Care- 

1 Felt, L 867, 881. 


fill expositions of their polity as a whole were composed CHAP, 
under the authority of the clergy and sent to England. In ^ ^^ 
these apologies and treatises the process of forming the indi- 
vidual church was described in the greatest detail. The 
obligations arising from the covenant were analyzed with 
the greatest scholastic ingenuity. The election of ministers 
and elders by the congregation, and the powers of each, were 
dwelt upon at equal length. Finally, the theory of censure 
and excommunication, the punitive power of churches, was 
elaborated. They never tired of repeating the idea of 
Robinson, that in the visible church there is an aristocratic 
and a democratic element, — namely, the officers and the con- 
gregation. In the decision of any question both of these ele- 
ments should have a voice, but the elders should have large 
discretionary powers for the discipline and guidance of the 
whole. Thus a position was accorded them similar to that 
claimed by the magistrates in civil affairs. Both church and 
commonwealth possessed a moderately aristocratic organiza- 
tion. Soon also it was found that cooperation between the 
local congregations was necessary. Plans for a federal union 
were discussed until, partly under the pressure of necessity, 
they took shape in the calling of occasional synods. These 
were usually, if not always, attended by delegates from all 
the four Puritan colonies, and thus helped to perfect among 
them a network of ecclesiastical relations. 

The founding of Harvard College, mainly for the training 
of ministers and common missionary operations, developed 
these relations. The synods adopted a common creed and 
platform of discipline, and expressed the consensus of the 
churches upon important theological questions. Though the 
influence of the clergy was great, this was in essence a 
federal-republican system of church government, the ele- 
ments of which were derived both from the Mosaic and the 
apostolic systems. Precedents were drawn freely from 
both, but, as will appear, the spirit shown in the administra- 
tion of the system was more Jewish than Christian.^ 

1 See the statements of the divines sent to England in 1G37 and 1630 ; also 
the writings of John Cotton, especially his Way of the Churches of Christ 
in New England. The works of Hooker and Davenport are also very fall on 

VOL. I — p 

^ _ ^ 


PART The theory of the New England clergy concerning the 
power of the magistrates and the relation between church 
and commonwealth was thoroughly Calvinistic. On theo- 
retical as well as legal grounds, they and the magistrates 
were in agreement on these points. In the Model of Church 
and Civil Power} written probably by Richard Mather and 
sent, with the approval of the other ministers, to the Salem 
church during the controversy with Roger Williams, they 
argue that the power of the magistrate, while conferred by 
the people, " is limited by the only perfect rule and word of 
God." "As all free men are only stewards of God, they 
may not give the magistrate power over these things as they 
please, but as God pleases." By the same rule, in their 
opinion, was the legislative power of the representatives of 
the people limited. It was necessary to go back of the 
simple will of the legislator to find the reason of laws. A 
right reason, or full justification of them, could be found 
only when they expressed the will of God. Here we have 
the idea of the Biblical Commonwealth, or democracy regu- 
lated and modified by the necessity of upholding a divinely 
ordered ecclesiastical system. That was what the clergy 
conceived the corporate colony to be ; it was what Winthrop 
also had in mind when he wrote his Modell of Christian 

The corporate form of colonial government was brought 
into existence in order that this ideal might be realized. The 
legal precedents of such a state as a matter of course would 
not be drawn exclusively from England, but also from Geneva 
and the ancient polity of the Jews. It was held that such 
laws from the Mosaic code as were found useful were obli- 
gatory in New England and should be put in force.^ 

In the writings of the clergy, state and church are con- 
sidered as distinct in the sense that they work for different 

this subject. Hooker's Survey of the Summe of Church Discipline is the 
most elaborate and detailed of all the treatises. 

1 Quoted by Williams in his Bloody Tenent of Persecution. 

^ See John Eliot, The Christian Commonwealth, London, 1650. Also the 
Apologie of the Churches of New England . . . touching the Covenant (sent 
over in 1639, published in 1643). This tract is anonymous, but is expressly 
acknowledged by the clergy to be authentic. 


objects and are controlled by different persons. The end CHAP, 
of the state is to preserve " external and temporal peace," 
and that of the church to ^^ maintain internal and spif itual 
peace." Both are to be guided by the rules of the ^ord. 
The church is to promote holiness, and thus is to be\the 
bulwark of the commonwealth. The commonwealth in re- 
turn is to give " free passage " to the gospel. This it mudt 
do by divinely ordered laws concerning religion. It must 
punish sedition, contempt of authority in the church, heresy, 
blasphemy, slander, and similar offences, though in most 
cases not until the offender had been ^' dealt with in a 
church way." The magistrates should also compel all to 
hear the word, encourage people to join the church, am 
disperse all irregular assemblies, because they *^ destroy the 
peace of the churches" and dissolve the continuity of the 
state. They may also compel those who hear the word to ^ 
support its ministers, and establish and control schools for 
furnishing the church with educated pastors. It is their 
duty also to reform the corrupted worship of God, and to 
defend with the sword the pure worship. Still they have no 
authority to interfere in the election of church officers, to 
perform any ecclesiastical functions, or to establish anything / 
but a pure form of worship. Finally, all freemen should be / 
church members and magistrates should be chosen expressly / 
from them. / 

Such was the statement in theoretical form of what in Mas- 
sachusetts was fully carried into practice. To such an extent 
was the distinction between church and commonwealth a 
formal one, that under the stress of circumstances it might 
be lost sight of and the two become practically identified. 
If in Massachusetts the ecclesiastical did not so completely 
overmaster the political as in Geneva, it was because the 
resistance to the policy of the clergy was not so great. As 
it was, however, until about 1660 the theocratic element dis- 
tinctly predominated. Every public question had its reli- 
gious bearing, and in many cases that aspect attracted the 
chief attention. The magistrates, with an occasional excep- 
tion, were orthodox, and the ministers could usually count 
upon a majority among the deputies. The course of legisla- 


•PART tion and practice which resulted from this union of the civil 
and ecclesiastical powers will now be traced. 

y^he religious test of 1631, to which extended reference 
has already been made, limited active citizenship in the 
colony to church members. In 1660 the general court 
declared that only those could be freemen who were in full 
communion with the churches.^ The test continued in force 
in the form in which it was enacted until 1664.^ Then, under 
pressure from the home government, an obscurely worded act 
was passed which modified it as follows : All Englishmen 
presenting certificates signed by a minister or ministers of 
the place where they lived that they were orthodox in re- 
ligion and not vicious in life, and also certificates under the 
hands of the selectmen of the place, or a majority of them, 
that they were freeholders and were ratable at a single coun- 
try rate to the sum of ten shillings, or that they were in full 
\ communion with some church, being also twenty-four years 
of age, householders and settled inhabitants, might apply to 
the general court for admission as freemen. The certificates 
required were of such a nature and came from such sources 
that the act made practically no change in the system. It 
in fact was not changed so long as the first charter existed. 
According to the court lists, the total number of freemen 
admitted up to 1674 was 2527.* This was probably about 
one in five of the adult male residents during that period. 
It thus appears that the test cut deeply and excluded from 
active citizenship the great majority of the men of the 
colony. A freeholder franchise probably would have been 
much less exclusive. The consideration of this fact brings 
into distinct relief the aristocratic tendency of the Puritan 
church-state system. 

The suffrage in town meeting was not strictly confined to 
freemen. In 1635 it was enacted that only freemen should 
vote in those meetings on measures of necessity and authority, 
as the receiving of inhabitants, laying out of lands, and the 
like. This implied that non-freemen might vote on other 

1 Col. Recs. IV 1. 420. « Ibid. IV «. 118. 

> Ellis, Paritan Age in Massachusetts, 203. 


It appears that in some cases church members, in order to CHAP, 
avoid the burdens of ofl&ce-holding, neglected to apply for ^^ 
admission as freemen. By acts of 1643 and 1647 it was pro- 
vided that all who were pursuing that course should be dealt 
with by the churches and be made to fulfil their civil obliga- 

A review of the laws which specify the support, direction, 
and control given by the civil power to the churches will 
illustrate anew the intimacy of relations between them. An 
incident of this was the union of the churches themselves 
into a compact body> In 1635 the elders were asked to pre- 
pare an order of discipline, and to consider how far the court 
might interfere to preserve the uniformity and peace of the 
churches. In 1636 the power of the magistrates over the 
institution of churches was first asserted. It was declared 
that the board would approve of no churches thereafter 
organized, unless the magistrates and elders of the majority 
of churches had been previously informed and approved 
thereof. No person who was not a member of a church thus 
approved should be admitted as a freeman. The passage of 
orders for the taxation of all inhabitants for the support of 
the clergy and worship began with the founding of the 
colony and was regularly continued. 

In the Body of Liberties, which was an enactment by the 
civil power, the conditions under which churches might be 
formed were comprehensively stated. It was therein pro- 
vided that all people of God in the colony, who were 
orthodox in judgment and not scandalous in life, might 
gather themselves into a church estate, " provided they do it 
in a Christian way, with due observation of the rules of 
Christ revealed in his word." Every congregation was also 
to have liberty to use the ordinances of God according to 
the rules of Scripture ; and to elect and ordain its officers, 
provided they were " able, pious, and orthodox." It will be 
noted that on every side the freedom of the church was 
limited by the necessity of conforming to the word of God. 

In the act of 1646,^ calling the second synod that was held 
in Massachusetts, the general court expressed itself at some 

1 Col. Recs. n. 164. 


PART length on the relations between the civil and ecclesiastical 
^ power. It asserted the right to sanction the correct form of 
government and discipline, when these were established by 
the churches. It also made no question of its right ^^ to 
assemble the churches or their messengers upon occasion of 
counsell, or anything which may concern the practice of the 
churches." Still, because all church members were not clear 
on this point, the court, instead of commanding them to 
assemble, expressed the desire that they would meet at the 
time and place and for the purpose stated in the act. It also 
expressed its sorrow at the departure of the churches from 
uniformity of belief and practice respecting the baptism of 
infants whose parents were not church members, and in refer- 
ence to other points. For this reason it desired the clergy 
to continue the sessions of the synod until a uniform plan of 
government and discipline had been adopted. When com- 
pleted, this should be transmitted, through the governor or 
deputy governor, to the general court, that it might give the 
system its approval if found agreeable to the word of God. 
The synod met at Cambridge and completed its labors in 
1647.^ They were embodied in the Cambridge Platform of 
Discipline, to which reference has already been made. In 
October, 1649,* the general court commended this document 
to the churches of the commonwealth for their consideration, 
and desired a return from them at the next session. Owing 
to the delay of some of the churches and the presentation of 
objections by some, final action ^ was not taken till October, 
1651. Then the court expressly approved of the Book of 
Discipline, " that for the substance thereof it is that wee have 
practised and doe believe." 

In the Cambridge Platform the clergy claimed * the sup- 
port of the civil power as fully as ever the Jewish priesthood 
did. It was declared that the magistrate should " improve his 
civil authority for the observing of the duties commanded " 
in both tables of the law. The object of his activity was 
not only to secure peace, righteousness, and honesty in 
society, but godliness as well. Like the judges and kings 

1 Mather, Magnalia, Book V. » Ibid. IVK 167. 

8 Col. Recs. II. 286. * Platfonn, Chap. 17. 


of the Hebrews, several of whom were cited as examples, CHAP. 


the magistrates were to put forth their authority in matters ^ ^ 

of religion. Idolatry, blasphemy, schism, heresy, the vent- 
ing of corrupt and pernicious opinions, open contempt of the 
word preached, profanation of the Lord's day, disturbance of 
the public worship, and similar offences were to be punished 
by civil authority. These provisions leave no sphere of 
church activity free from the possibility of interference by 
the civil power. 

Naturally, then. Sabbath legislation and legislation against 
blasphemy, drunkenness, games, showy apparel, and all forms 
of immorality appear prominently in the Massachusetts 
statute book. In the Body of Liberties blasphemy and the 
worship of any but the true God appear in the catalogue of 
capital crimes. By an act of 1646^ blasphemy was again 
expressly made a capital offence. In 1653 playing in the 
streets, uncivilly walking in the streets or fields, travelling 
from town to town, going on shipboard, frequenting taverns 
and other places to drink, or misspending the time in other 
ways on Sunday were forbidden on the penalty of tine or 
whipping. In 1658 similar penalties were attached to 
these offences 2 if committed on Saturday nights or on 
Sundays after dark. But the evil against which these laws 
were directed continued, especially drinking in taverns on 
Saturday and Sunday nights, and repeatedly orders were 
issued against it.^ 

In 1646 appears the first act against heresy.* In the pre- 
amble to this law the distinction between violating the con- 
science and suppressing notorious impiety, universally in 
vogue at the time among Anglicans as well as Puritans, is 
suggested, and thus an attempt is made to remove it from the 
category of persecuting acts. Whether the distinction was 
a valid one or not may be inferred from the list of heretical 
opinions given in the act itself. They were the denial of 
the immortality of the soul, of the resurrection of the body, 

1 Col. Recs. II. 176. 

« Ibid, IVi. 150, 200 ; Laws, 1887, 189 et seq. 

» Col. Recs. IVi. 347 ; JV^, 396, 562 ; V. 133, 156, 289, 243. 

* Ibid, II. 177 ; Laws, 1889, 154 ; Laws, 1887, 58. 


PART of sin, of atonement through the death of Christ, of the 
^^' morality of the fourth commandment, of the baptism of 
infants, of the ordinance of magistracy or of the magistrates' 
authority to punish breaches of the first Table. Those who 
held these opinions and tried to induce others to adopt them 
should be banished. In 1651 the titles of the books of the 
Old and New Testaments were recited, and the denial that 
these were the infallible word of God was declared to be 
punishable with a fine of £50 and whipping with not more 
than forty strokes. Particular forms of heresy, as Antino- 
mianism, Anabaptism, and Quakerism, were denounced and 
punished as they appeared in the colony. In 1647^ an act 
was passed, as severe as any on the English statute book, 
for the punishment of Catholic priests who might be found 
in the colony. In the mode of treatment prescribed for 
them it foreshadows the later legislation against Quakers. 

The laws also prove not only that the proclamation of 
false doctrine was forbidden, but that the preaching of the 
truth was encouraged and commanded. Attendance at 
church was compulsory, and by the act of 1646 a fine of 
five shillings was imposed for every absence. Disturbance 
and interruption of public services, contemptuous behavior 
toward the word or its messengers, were forbidden* by 
various acts and penalties. The system of providing for 
the regular public support of the ministry was extended in 
1654 by a law requiring each town to provide a house for 
the minister's use. At the same time the county courts 
were ordered, when informed that a town was delinquent 
in the support of its minister, to issue a warrant to the 
selectmen to levy a special rate for the purpose. The 
general court declared in this act that it was its intention 
to secure an honorable allowance for the ministry. In 1658 
the general court declared that it was the duty of the 
Christian magistrate "to take care that the people be fed 
with wholesome and sound doctrine." Therefore it ordered 
that no one should regularly preach or be ordained as a 
teaching elder, with whose doctrine or practice any two 
churches, or the council of state, or general court, declared 

1 Mass. Recs. IL 193. > Laws, 1887, 144 et seq. 


their dissatisfaction. In 1660 the general court,^ in further CHAP, 
pursuance of its duty to secure an able and faithful ministry, ^^ 
required that the county courts should carefully execute its 
orders about the maintenance of the ministry, the purging 
of towns from ministers of vicious life or heterodox beliefs, 
and procuring faithful laborers in their places ; that rates 
for the support of the clergy be regularly levied ; and that 
the aid of the grand juries be invoked for these ends. In 
the performance of this function the general court some- 
times took counsel with individual churches, as with a 
Boston church ^ in 1652. In 1656 the general court advised 
that a council be called to heal divisions in the church at 
Ipswich.* In 1657 the court interfered to settle a contro- 
versy between the churches of Salisbury* and Haverhill. 
The same course was pursued in the case of the church at 
Wells * in 1660 and in several other instances. The great 
controversies, in which the colony as a whole became 
involved, also furnished striking examples of the same 

The civil power not only supported the churches in these 
manifold ways, but it claimed and received great help in 
return. The moral support given by the clergy to the gov- 
ernment was continuous, save when the civil power in the 
hands of Vane sought to discredit the great body of the 
ministers. In times of crisis the clergy were always in 
the forefront, rousing all to support the government. 
As their reliance for the suppression of heresy and schism 
was on the secular arm, so they did all they could to 
strengthen it. Special providences without limit were cited 
as encouragements to action or warnings against dangers 
and mistakes. 

As we have had occasion repeatedly to notice, when cases 
of importance came before the magistrates or the general 
court, the advice of the clergy was sought and almost 
invariably followed. The clergy in an extra-legal capacity 
acted as a board of referees on important questions of 
legislation, judicature, and practical policy. With the 

1 Col. Recs. IV 1. 417. « Ibid. 113, 177, 210, 212. 

» Ibid, 226, 310. * Ibid, 809. » Ibid. 426, 434. 


PART exception of Winthrop, they were the chief expounders of 
^ the public law and policy of Massachusetts, and their utter- 
ances are among the most valuable and authoritative we 
have. They were consulted about relations with the 
Indians and with the mother country. Their advice was 
sought on the question of the distribution of power between 
the magistrates and the deputies. They prepared elaborate 
statements respecting the form of the Massachusetts gov- 
ernment and the relations of its several parts. To clergy- 
men was assigned the task of preparing the first draft of 
laws for the colony. Sermons, whether delivered before the 
general court or elsewhere, might at any time have a politi- 
cal bearing, and convey direct political instruction. Like 
the ecclesiastics of the middle age, the ministers of New 
England were statesmen and political leaders. No affair 
of government was indifferent to them. They helped to 
uphold the church and commonwealth against threats of 
attack by the home government, the efforts of Gorges and 
Mason, the complaints and agitations of schismatics. They 
cooperated in forming the New England Confederacy. They 
gave their active support to a system of common and higher 
education, and to the other social institutions which con- 
tributed to that self-denying and heroic, but cheerless, 
Puritan life. With the magistrates they acted as censors of 
the press, and when a book, pamphlet, or sermon appeared, 
— like some by Roger Williams, Pynchon, Saltonstall, John 
Eliot, — which advocated doctrines or policies about which 
there was doubt, it was referred to them for examination. 
Upon their report hung the decision whether it should be 
allowed to circulate or be suppressed. With the magis- 
trates, they constituted for half a century the governing 
class of Massachusetts — the oligarchy which shaped its 
policy and growth. As at Geneva, the result was a narrow, 
forced, and one-sided development. 

That in a community of this type persecution would be 
resorted to as a means of suppressing unwelcome opinions, 
goes without saying. That, moreover, the rangfe of ignored 
or prohibited opinions was incomparably wider than the 
circle of tolerated beliefs, is a fact equally apparent. The 


meagre output of the press in Puritan New England con- CHAP, 
sisted almost wholly of books on religion. The same is true ™' 
of the works relating to those colonies which were published 
in England. Literature, art, morals, save as they were 
related to the accepted dogmatic system, were as closed 
books. Science as yet had no existence. The only history 
for which they cared was that of the Hebrews, of the early 
church, and of some of the reforming sects. Though the 
divines, and possibly now and then a magistrate, could read 
the language of Plato and Aristotle, philosophy had no place 
even in their imaginations. It is true that most of these 
conditions the New Englanders shared with the people of 
the other colonies, but the intensity of the mental activity of 
the Puritan in certain lines makes the narrowness of his 
horizon all the clearer. It is fair that he should be in a 
measure held responsible for defects which would not be 
noticed in a merchant, an Indian trader, a planter, or an in- 
dented servant. We wonder when a young man of univer- 
sity training and possessed of the general intelligence of 
John Winthrop, Jr., writes to his father, after a tour on the 
European continent,^ " For myself, I have seen so much of 
the vanity of the world, that I esteem no more of the diver- 
sities of countries than so many inns, whereof the traveller 
that hath lodged in the best, or in the worst, findeth no dif- 
ference when he cometh to his journey's end." Too much 
contemplation of the world to come made many of the best 
minds of that generation as insensible to the real glories of 
the world that now is as any peasant could well be. 

The only opinions likely to be expressed in New Eng- 
land which would meet with disapproval were those which 
affected in some way the religious system of the colonies or 
their political security. They might relate to conduct or to 
belief. From the utterances of the Puritan leaders, and 
particularly of John Cotton in his controversy with Roger 
Williams, and of John Norton in the controversy with the 
Quakers, we know what their theoretical views were concern- 
ing the way in which erroneous opinions should be dealt 
with. They were of such a nature that practically no room 

1 Life and Letters of Winthrop, I. 807. 



PAKT was left for the expression of dissent. The essentials of the 
faith and the foundations of the political system were in no 
case to be attacked. The idea of essentials was very indefi- 
nite, and might be stretched by the Puritan to cover nearly the 
whole body of his faith. The interests of public order might 
also be invoked to silence outspoken opposition to less im- 
portant doctrines. Individuals who were found to hold and 
express heretical views should be admonished by some per- 
sons in authority. The process of admonishing, which was 
very characteristic of the Calvinistic system, was called in 
the speech of the time ^^ dealing " with the offender, and was 
resorted to as soon as possible after symptoms of heresy made 
their appearance. Dissentients, who had been sufficiently 
admonished and still remained unconvinced, were said to 
have become wedded to their errors, and were sources of evil 
against whom the community must be protected. Their 
mouths must then be closed. Thus the only opportunity 
really granted for the utterance of dissenting opinions was 
that during which the person who held them was subject to 
admonition. According to Cotton, — and he was not alone 
in his opinion, — the punishment of the persistent heretic was 
not persecution. The argument used to show this was that 
the presentation of the truth by admonition must convince 
the conscience of error ; but the corrupt will then interposed 
and caused the unbeliever to hold out stubbornly against the 
truth. Consequently, if the magistrate took him in hand, it 
could not be said that he was persecuted, because that term 
is applied only to the constraining of the conscience. Say 
rather that he was punished as a ^^ culpable and damnable " 
person, a turbulent heretic and schismatic.^ According to 
this argument and to many of the utterances of the time, 
the free expression of novel or heretical opinions was closely 

^ John Norton, in his ffeart of New England Bent, stated the doctrine 
in this form : Conscience, he said, was man's judgment answering to that 
of Grod. It must then act according to principle. Freedom of conscience 
wajs liberty from all human impediment, ** in acting according to rule/' But 
liberty to believe and propagate error was not liberty of conscience, but 
liberty to blaspheme, to seduce others from the true God, to tell lies in the 
name of the Lord. It was indeed liberty onto bondage, and restraint from 
it was restraint from bondage. 


akin to sedition or rebellion, and the punishment of it was CHAP, 
not persecution, but the infliction of the appropriate penalty ^ ™' ^ 
for a crime. Heresy could hardly exist in the abstract, but 
as soon as uttered became concrete, and as such begat social 
evil and corrupted the state. Though the church might ini- 
tiate proceedings, presently the magistrate must be called in 
to remove the offenders, as the Jews banished unclean per- 
sons from the congregation. 

The mass of the inhabitants of Massachusetts, the agricul- 
tural laborers, farmers, small traders, those who, because they 
were not members of the churches, appear simply as residents, 
did not differ materially in character or ambitions from the 
settlers in the other colonies. A large proportion also of the 
church members may be supposed to have been easy-going, 
commonplace people, seeking no outlet for their energies 
except that which their own occupations or neighborhoods 
afforded. Politically these were either altogether or largely 
without significance. They were the hull and ballast of the 
colony craft, not in any sense the steering or propelling 
apparatus. If freemen, they served in the militia during 
war, voted for deputies to the general court, or might share 
in sending a proxy to the court of election. When the 
colony was profoundly moved by some controversy or men- 
aced by some peril, they contributed to the volume of opinion 
which gathered and in a way to the expression or action 
which might follow. But with these things their influence 
over affairs of the jurisdiction ended. In the local and 
family records of the time the activity of the ordinary free- 
men can be traced in faint and broken lines ; but the non- 
freemen have left scarcely a memorial behind. Save in a 
few conspicuous instances, they are mutes, as much so as the 
slave population of an ancient city republic. That which 
was peculiar and significant in the Puritan colonies of New 
England was contributed by the active freemen, at whose 
head stood the magistrates and clergy. They sketched the 
plan of the colonies and filled it out in action. The fact 
that Massachusetts passed at a single bound from the status 
of a plantation to that of a corporate colony was due to 
their devising skill. In the towns they were as much the 


PABT leaders as in the commonwealth at large. The reproduction 
in New England of the Biblical commonwealth was their 
work. It was the jewel, the preservation of which enlisted 
all their care and energy. The faith and practice of the 
churches was the feature of the system which they chiefly 
esteemed. The civil authority was developed and organized 
mainly for the purpose of protecting the church. The two 
together then became the object of perpetual care. The 
regeneration of the world seemed to these men to depend on 
the maintenance of this system; to their minds it held a 
place in the scheme of redemption second in importance only 
to the Jewish commonwealth and the apostolic church. It 
was a constant and chief object of divine care. Its friends 
might ever expect special divine favors, and its foes, or those 
who were indifferent to it, equally marked evidences of the 
displeasure of God. They were a light set on a hill for the 
illumination of the nations. 

But the possibilities that this enterprise, on which the 
leaders had so passionately set their hearts, might be ship- 
wrecked or come to nothing, were numerous. These arose 
not from the mere fact that church and commonwealth were 
closely joined in Massachusetts, or that the secular power 
was pledged to support the spiritual by all means at its 
command. Such a relation, in the world as it then was, was 
the rule rather than the exception. But the difficulty lay in 
the form under which the union was effected, and the cir- 
cumstances attending its origin and perpetuation. What- 
ever might be the assertions of the Puritan leaders, their 
policy, considered as a whole, was a most pronounced 
declaration of independence toward the English Church. 
The removal of the colony government to New England 
implied an equally strong determination to escape as far as 
possible from the restraints of the English government. The 
scheme therefore had no friends among the ruling classes in 
the mother country, or, one may say, in Europe at large. 
But in this connection we are more concerned with the pos- 
sible foes of the Puritans in their own household. They 
had been dissenters in England, and one form of dissent, 
especially in those times, was likely to occasion the birth of 


numerous other forms. So novel was the Puritan experiment CHAP, 
that other dissenters might easily claim equality of rights ^^ 
with it. Even adherents of ancient faiths might appear to 
be dangerous schismatics if transplanted into Massachusetts. 
The Puritans could not fall back on antiquity as a justifi- 
cation for their exclusiveness ; and, being the rulers of a 
mere colony, and weak at that, they must scrutinize every 
appearance of evil and, if possible, smother it at the very 
beginning. The leaders must be equally alert to discover 
attacks on the civil and ecclesiastical order, — for both were 
vulnerable, — and crush them if possible. Assaults on the 
one might easily imperil the other, and hence clergy and 
magistrates must cooperate in defence of both. The ad- 
mission of persons into the colony who might betray its 
interests, the silencing or removal of declared critics and 
enemies, their conduct and whereabouts after discipline, the 
possibility of their corresponding with the enemies of the 
colonies in England, or of their founding rival colonies near 
by, all these and many other things must be the objects of 
constant attention on the part of the Puritan oUgarchy, if 
its experiment was to escape ruin. Necessarily then Massa- 
chusetts, and to a less extent the other Puritan colonies, 
were under a sort of perpetual state of siege. To say 
nothing of external foes, group after group of malcontents 
sprang into existence within its own borders, or forced their 
way in from outside, from whose malign influence the leaders 
considered it necessary that the colony should be purged. 
Our inquiry, in its next stage, will be directed toward the 
controversies which, originating in the way that has been 
suggested, agitated Massachusetts during the first thirty 
years of its existence. A detailed history of them will not 
be attempted, for many such are accessible elsewhere. 
Neither will they be studied exclusively for their own sake, 
but an effort will be made to use them as illustrations of the 
working of the Puritan state-church system. 



As the church and commonwealth in Massachusetts, if not 
one, were at least indissoluble, an attack on the founda- 
tions of the civil power might easily arouse the churches 
and have wide-reaching effects on ecclesiastical policy. 
This, it is believed, is the real lesson of the Roger Williams 

Next to the Bible the Massachusetts Puritans esteemed 
and valued their charter. It guarantied to them the posses- 
sion of their lands as against all adverse claims which might 
originate with Gorges, Mason, or others of the New England 
council ; it was the basis of their civil order, and by skilful 
use of its provisions they had been able to give such form 
as they desired to their institutions of government ; from 
their reliance on it, as time advanced, proceeded not a little 
of the imperiousness shown by Massachusetts in its dealings 
with neighbors who had no charters ; the last twenty years 
of the existence of the Puritan oligarchy was spent in de- 
fending this instrument, and when it was cancelled the 
Biblical commonwealth became simply a memory and an 
influence. None save Connecticut was in sentiment so 
emphatically a chartered colony as was Massachusetts. 
This fact, in the case of both, was intimately connected with 
the Puritan's love for covenanted relations, for ascertained, 
limited, and guarantied rights, as well as his need of such 
protection as was available against the crown. These guar- 
anties, it will be noted, he wished for himself, but viewed 
with indifference any proposal to extend their benefits to 



his opponents. He believed in liberty for the elect, for CHAP. 
" men that fear God," not in human rights as such.* ^' 

A central fact in the career of Roger Williams as an in- 
habitant of Massachusetts was his attack on the claim to 
their lands which the colonists derived from the crown 
through their charter. Much of Williams's life as a colonist 
was spent among the Indians. Some of the noblest aspects 
of his character appear in his relations with them. His use- 
fulness to his contemporaries arose quite as much from his 
knowledge of Indian life and his ability to maintain friendly 
relations with the savages as from any other source. His 
first prolonged residence among them occurred in and about 
1632, when he was an inhabitant of Plymouth colony. 
Then he began to gain that familiarity with their tongue 
which afterwards enabled him to write his Key into the 
L(ynguage of America, Though Williams was unacquainted 
with any but the Puritan type of culture, he was an 
humanitarian ; he respected man as man. He also knew 
little of the law, and perhaps had never seen a copy of a 
royal charter. While in Plymouth Williams prepared in 
manuscript a small book or tract,' which he addressed to 
the governor and council of that colony and in which he 
denied that title to land could be derived from the king's 
grant, and asserted that it must be secured by compounding 
with the natives. To rely upon a title derived from the 
crown was to commit usurpation. That there was an element 
of truth in Williams's contention, the entire history of the 
dealings of English colonists with the natives proves. They 
everywhere, and especially in New England, sought to ex- 
tinguish Indian claims by a form of purchase. This ad- 
mitted them peacefully to joint occupancy with the natives, 
the Europeans taking immediate and exclusive possession 
of certain tracts for agricultural purposes, while the Indians 
continued to enjoy hunting and fishing privileges within 
the rest. But ownership of the soil it was impossible for 

1 Williams, writing in later life to Major Mason of Connecticut, said, 
** Yoarselves pretend liberty of conscience, but alas 1 it is but self, the great 
god self, only to yourselves.** Pubs, of Narragansett Club, VI. 346. 

« Winthrop, I. 14&. 

VOL. I — Q 


FART the Indian to grant, for he had never had more than possea- 
sion. Guaranties of possession against other Englishmen 
or Europeans he could not give. According to a general 
principle of law, guaranties of this kind, together with 
ownership of the soil, must be derived from the crown, and 
were transferred by means of a charter. This Williams 

During his first residence in Massachusetts, Williams had 
attracted unfavorable notice ^ by his pronounced separatism 
and his avowal of the belief that the secular power had 
no right to punish breaches of the first table of the law.^ 
Therefore, when, on the death of Higginson, the Salem 
church called Williams to be its teacher, the magistrates 
interposed and asked them to delay till a conference could 
be held about it. If this was an official act of the board of 
assistants, it was not justified by any existing law of which 
we have knowledge, and it is to be regarded as one of the 
earliest assertions of the authority of the civil power to 
warn and restrain the individual churches in the interest of 
uniformity. Williams was not installed, and soon removed 
to Plymouth, where he resided for some two years. At 
the end of that time he returned to Salem, where he preached 
as an assistant of Mr. Skelton, though at first without ad- 
mission to any office in the church. Thus another proof was 
afforded of the separatist tendency in the Salem church. 

It was after his return, but before his appointment as 
Skel ton's successor, that Williams's " treatise " * on the charter 
was considered by the magistrates at Boston. The advice of 
'* some of the most judicious ministers," — Cotton and Wil- 
son, — was taken, and they "much condemned Mr. Williams's 
error and presumption." It was ordered that he should be 
"con vented at the next court to be censured." But in the 
meantime Governor Winthrop wrote to Endicott, who had 
been absent from the meeting of the assistants, to let him 

1 Winthrop, I. 63. 

3 Strictly interpreted, this phrase would mean that he had denied the right 
of the civil government to punish idolatry, blasphemy, perjury, and Sabbath 
breaking (Palfrey, I. 407), which were at that time very generally regarded 
as penal offences in Protestant countries. 

» Winthrop, L 146-147. 


know what had been done, asking him also to induce CHAP. 


Williams, if possible, to retract his utterances. To all con- , ^ 
cerned, including Endicott, Winthrop, and the court, Williams 
now returned very submissive answers, stating that he had 
no intention of publishing his opinions, and professing loyalty 
to the government. Cotton and Wilson also reported that, 
on further considering the book, they did not find its senti- 
ments so evil as they at first thought. They also agreed that, 
if Mr. Williams would retract and take the oath of allegiance 
to the king, it should be passed over. We have no record of 
his doing either of these things, and from what we know of 
Williams and of the attitude of the magistrates generally 
toward the oath of allegiance, the inference is a probable 
one that neither of the conditions was exacted. 

The impression is strengthened by the fact that, about 
a year later, information reached the magistrates^ that 
Williams wasl£gain ^^ teaching publicly against the king's 
patent, and our great sin in claiming right thereby to this 
country." He was also denouncing the churches of England 
as anti-Christian. Winthrop states that in doing this he 
had ^^ broken his promise''; but if the breach of an oath 
had been involved, the annalist would probably have so 
stated it. Williams was summoned to appear at the next 
court. But before the time for that came, Mr. Cotton^ 
requested the magistrates to forbear civil prosecution 
against him till he could be dealt with in a church way, and 
thus convicted of his offence as a sin. This was a method 
of procedure in such cases of which Cotton made much in 
his writings, and he now had a good opportunity to apply 
it. At the same time he seems to have had some insight 
into Williams's real nature, for he surmised that ** his violent 
course did rather spring from scruple of conscience than 
from a seditious principle." But, as we have seen, it was 
also Cotton's belief, that if scruples of conscience did not 
vanish under admonition, they became transformed into 
turbulent heresy and schism, which withal was close akin to 

1 Winthrop, I. 180. 

> Cotton^s Beply to Mr. Williams, his Examination, Narragansett Club 
Edition, 38. 


PART sedition. Just this change seems to have been wrought in 
the case of Mr. Williams. The gentle offices of admonition 
did not avail to turn him from his opinion, as they did in 
the case of Mr. Eliot and of others. Instead, they left him 
n^ore stubborn and persistent than ever. Indeed, upon the 
Calvinistic system of admonition as a whole a judgment 
must be passed similar to that of Lord Burghley concerning 
Whitgift's Articles ; it was " rather a device to seek for 
offenders than to reform any." When combined with the 
action of the civil power, it made a machine as well con- 
trived for the manufacture of heretics as any the world has 
ever seen. 

But another element was added to the problem before it 
came to the final issue. In April, 1634, the residents' oath, 
to which reference has already been made, was enacted and 
its enforcement began. This was resorted to as an addi- 
tional protection for the government in view of the influx of 
inhabitants and of the perils which threatened the colony 
from England and elsewhere. Williams was a resident, 
having never been admitted to the number of freemen, and 
hence was directly affected by the new enactment. The 
fact that he was not a freeman, of course, magnified his 
offences in the eyes of the magistrates and clergy. He 
naturally seemed to them like an outsider, who had come 
into their midst simply to make trouble. And certainly no 
one among the non-freemen of Massachusetts ever made 
himself heard so effectively as did Roger Williams. 

Conscientious scruples now moved him to protest and 
preach publicly against the oath. His argument was that 
oath-taking was an act of worahip.^ Therefore a magistrate * 
ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate man, for he 
thereby had " communion with a wicked man in the worship 
of God," and caused him "to take the name of God in vain." 
In April, 1635, the assistants sent for him on this count, and 
heard and " confuted " him in the presence of "all the min- 
isters." At first Endicott supported Williams, but later he 
"gave place to the truth." Williams, however, again refused to 
be convinced. Therefore he was summoned to appear before 

1 Hireling Ministry none of Chri8t'8. > Winthrop, L 188. 


the general court. But his popularity in Salem at this time CHAP, 
is evidenced by his call, on the death of Mr. Skelton, to the ^^" 
office of teacher of that church.^ At a session of the general 
court, which occurred in the summer of 1685, a series' of 
charges was presented against Williams, among which his 
theory concerning land titles does not appear. This would 
indicate that during the past few months his public utter- 
ances of an offensive nature had been confined to the ques- 
tion of the oath and to the right of the civil power to punish 
violations of the first four commandments. He was charged 
with teaching that the magistrate ought not to punish 
breaches of the first table, unless the public peace was dis- 
turbed, and that he ought not to tender an oath to an un- 
regenerate man. Two other charges were also presented, 
but they were simply corollaries of the second proposition. 
Notice was also taken of the fact that, while Mr. Williams 
was under admonition, the Salem church had called him to 
be its teacher. After a full debate, in which the ministers, 
at their own desire, took part, his opinions were unanimously 
adjudged to be erroneous and dangerous, and the action of 
the Salem church in calling him to office at that time as ^^ a 
great contempt of authority." At the special request of 
the court the ministers also declared that he who obstinately 
maintained opinions whereby a church might apostatize or 
run into heresy without a possibility of interference by the 
civil power should be removed ; and the other churches 
ought to request the magistrates so to act. It was finally 
resolved to give the Salem church till the next session of the 
general court to consider these things, and then, if it did 
not give satisfaction, it might expect the sentence. 

From the list of charges preferred against Williams at this 
time it is evident that he had again been preaching about 
the first table of the law, a subject to which only one earlier 
reference appears, and that in 1631. Positive proof is there- 
fore lacking that it played a large part in the controversy 
till, in 1635, its last stage was reached. Previous to this 
time the attack on land titles and on the oath seem to have 
occupied the chief attention. Substantially all the contem- 
1 Dexter, As to Roger Williams, S6. * Winthrop, 1. 193. 


PART porary testimony ^ we have is to the effect that these were 
^' the chief questions at issue. But this testimony is possibly 
to an extent biassed, because of the desire of the Puritan 
leaders who gave it to prove that the banishment of Will- 
iams from Massachusetts was an act of civil justice, and 
not in any sense persecution. So meagre are the statements 
which have come down to us concerning Williams's opinions 
at this time, on the relations between the civil and ecclesi- 
astical power, that it is impossible to know exactly what 
stage they had reached. In the case of most men at that 
time the natural inference would be that experience was 
gradually bringing him to the point where he would be 
ready to affirm the total separation of the two powers. As 
he divulged novel opinions, one after another, he found his 
way blocked by the Massachusetts authorities, and himself 
subjected to the comfortable process of being "dealt with." 
Such a discussion as that which probably occurred in the 
general court would, in the case of an ardent tempera- 
ment like his, help to commit him to sweeping views on the 
subject. As such inquiries were beautifully contrived for 
the purpose of making heretics, it is quite possible to sup- 
pose that Williams then uttered for almost the first time in 
public the views which stood first in the list of charges 
against him. But even in that case it is necessary to re- 
member his admission that the magistrate might interfere 
when the civil peace was endangered. 

On the other hand it should be borne in mind that Will- 
iams was dominated more by feeling than by reason ; we 
instinctively speak of him as a "prophet." Such men leap 
at conclusions, see things as wholes rather than piecemeal. 
Moreover, his solution of the difficulty, as he finally reached 
it, was simple, one that could be quickly grasped as soon as 
it occurred to the mind. For the world, as it then was, 
Williams's doctrine of the separation of church from state 
was not so much the solution of a problem as the denial of 
its existence. It was an attempt to cut the knot rather than 
to untie it. Hence it is possible to suppose that his theory 
was already formulated, and that, had the occasion arisen 

» Cited by Palfrey, L 416 n. 


as early as 1631 for him to share in the founding of a com- CHAP, 
monwealth, he would have pursued the same course in the ^^' 
matter which was later followed at Providence. Still it is 
difficult to believe that, had Williams thus early reached 
definite views on the subject of " soul libei'ty," they would 
have played so small a part in his controversy with 

However this may be, the question of the first table of the 
law was almost as much civil as ecclesiastical, and, the crisis 
of the dispute having been reached, we can see how the 
Massachusetts system responded to such an impact. Four 
years earlier it had been necessary for the magistrates to 
deal ^ with an elder of Watertown, because he expressed the 
opinion that the Roman Catholic church was a true church ; 
but relations in that case were quickly harmonized. Now 
a much more difficult case was in hand. Mr. Williams had 
raised three serious questions, and his church supported 
him. The magistrates and clergy stood in united opposi- 
tion to them. According to the Brownist theory of the 
autonomous local church, the Salem body should have been 
left to go its way. But this was not to be thought of ; 
if for no other reason, because secular issues were involved, 
and the town could be coerced if the church could not. 

Before the general court at the very session when Will- 
iams was convented, the town of Salem petitioned for a 
grant of land on Marblehead* neck which it claimed as 
rightfully its own. "But, because they had chosen Mr. 
Williams their teacher, while he stood under question of 
authority, and so offered contempt to the magistrates," 
their petition was refused till proper submission was made. 
Thereupon the Salem church took up the matter, and set 
the ecclesiastical machinery in motion for the purpose of 
punishing the magistrates and deputies, because in their 
civil capacity they had done an unfair act. Williams, with 
the approval of the church, wrote sharp letters of admoni- 
tion to all the churches of the colony, to which the members 
of the general court belonged, urging that they be reproved 
for their conduct as a " heinous sin." This at once spread 

1 Winthrop, L 70, 81. « Ibid. 196. 


PART the debate throughout the colony. It was an appeal to the 
^' whole body of the freemen, in their ecclesiastical capacity, 
against the general court. It was the first serious act of 
opposition with which the leaders had found it necessary to 

Steps were at once taken by individual magistrates and 
elders to win over from Williams the members of his 
own church. In this they succeeded, and the majority re- 
solved to abandon him rather than to abandon the other 
churches. When Williams learned this, he wrote a letter to 
his church ^ declaring that he had severed connection with 
the churches of the bay, and would cease to commune with 
his brethren in Salem if they did not break off communion 
with the rest. But this made no difference, and he was left 
with a few followers who attended private services in his 
house. He even refused to pray with his own wife because 
she continued to attend the public assembly. 

The town of Salem was brought into line by an order of 
the next general court that their deputies should be sent 
home to obtain satisfaction for the letters that had been 
sent, or the arguments of those who would undertake to 
defend them, with their names subscribed thereto.^ Endi- 
cott, who had already been suspended from office because 
he had mutilated the colors, but who was present in the 
court, protested against this course in such strong language 
that he was committed for contempt ; but later, on acknowl- 
edging his fault, he was set free. A more stringent order, 
however, was adopted concerning the town, to the effect 
that the majority of its freemen must disclaim* the letters 
recently sent to the churches before their deputies could be 
seated. The practical effect of that was to exclude the 
representatives of Salem from the court during the Septem- 
ber session. 

It now remained to inflict the final penalty on Mr. Will- 
iams, who, though left almost alone, abated not a tittle of 
his resolution. The case came up during the session at 
Newtown, from active participation in which the Salem depu- 
ties had been excluded. All the ministers in the bay were 
1 Winthrop, I. 198. > Ibid. 195 ; Bees. L 166. « Ibid, 168. 


invited to be present.^ In addition to the opinions for CHAP. 
which Williams was already held responsible, he was now ^' 
charged with the letters to the churches complaining of 
injustice and oppression on the part of the magistrates, and 
with his letter to his own church urging it to renounce 
communion with all the other churches because they were 
full of anti-Christian pollution. Both of these letters he 
justified, and maintained all his opinions. He was then asked 
whether, after taking a month for reflection, he would come 
and argue the matter before them. This offer he declined, 
and "chose to dispute presently." Thomas Hooker of 
Newtown, who till his removal to Connecticut occupied 
the leading place among Massachusetts divines, was then 
appointed to debate with Williams. Of their discussion we 
know nothing except a reference to a minor point, which is 
preserved in one of the later controversial writings of Mr. 
Cotton.^ A large part of a single sitting was devoted to 
this colloquy, but without result. Mr. Hooker " could not 
reduce him from any of his errors." The next morning the 
governor, John Haynes, summed* up the charges, giving 
the first place, if correctly reported, to Williams's views con- 
cerning land titles, the second to those concerning the oath, 
the third to his opinion that it was not lawful to hear any 
of the ministers of the parish assemblies in England, the last 
to his theory that the power of the civil magistrate extends 
only to the bodies, goods, and outward state of men. Then 
the sentence of banishment^ was pronounced against him, 
its words implying that it was justified by the fact that the 
accused had proclaimed new and dangerous opinions against 
the authority of magistrates, had written letters of defama- 
tion concerning both magistrates and churches, and that 
he continued to defend his course of action. For these 
reasons he was ordered to depart out of the jurisdiction 
within six weeks ; if he neglected so to do, the governor and 

1 Winthrop, I. 204 ; Dexter, 56. 

s Reply to Mr. Williams, his Examination, Narragansett Club Edition, 

* Williams, Mr. Cotton^s Letter Examined, Narragansett Club Edition, 40. 

* Col. Recs. I. 160. 


PART two of the magistrates might send him out, not to return 
any more without license from the court. 

When the date set for his departure came, he was reported 
to be ill. It was therefore resolved by the magistrates that 
he might have respite till spring. But about the beginning 
of winter report came that he was still uttering the opinions 
for which he was censured, and that he was holding meetings 
at his house for the purpose. He had won the adherence of 
about twenty persons, who would cooperate with him in the 
founding of a plantation in Narragansett bay, from which it 
was feared that the infection would spread into Massachu- 
setts. That Winthrop, however, at that time did not fear 
infection from that quarter is shown by the fact,^ related by 
Williams forty years afterwards, that Winthrop privately 
wrote him to steer his course thither, for the place was free 
from English claims or patents. When the messenger sent 
by the magistrates reached Salem, in January, 1636, for the 
purpose of arresting him, Williams had fled, and his connec- 
tion with Massachusetts as a resident had ended. 

At the meeting of the general court the following March, 
"it was proved . . . that Marble Neck belongs to Salem." ^ 
Deputies from that town also took their seats. These events, 
together with the removal of the chief malcontents to Narra- 
gansett bay, permitted affairs to again resume their orderly 
course in that town. But an element of radicalism survived 
there, which, together with sectional feeling, repeatedly ar- 
rayed Salem with other northern towns against the magistrates 
and elders. Winthrop states ' that after Williams's depar- 
ture the spirit of Separatism there was so strong that the 
Salem church asked if it were not better for them to be dis- 
missed to form an independent church. But this of course 
the magistrates and elders would not for a moment consider. 

In estimating the early career of Roger Williams it may 
be said that his one valuable idea — that of religious free- 
dom — was the logical outgrowth of Protestantism. It was 
one of the tendencies which were rooted in Calvinism itself. 
Not only was it a fundamental tenet of Robert Browne, but 

1 Letter to Major Mason, Pubs, of Narr. Club, YI. 335 ; 1 Mass. Hist Col. 
II. 276. a Col. Recs. I. 165. » Journal, I. 221. 


it lay at the basis of true Independency. The Puritans of CHAP. 
Massachusetts were in theory Independents, and had they ^' ^ 
remained true to the principle upon which their movement 
began, they must have welcomed the doctrine with which 
the name of Roger Williams is identified. But, largely 
under the pressure of political necessity, the Massachusetts 
leaders had from the beginning committed themselves to a 
limited or presbyterianized Independency. In order to 
secure unity and strength they had sacrificed freedom. Will- 
iams could truly claim that he was the one consistent and 
logical Independent, and that those who condemned him were 
the innovators. But that as a practical contention could 
avail nothing. Though the decision of the leaders had 
scarcely antedated his protest^ against it, and was even being 
formed while their controversy with him was in progress, it 
was held with such tenacity and was so far in harmony with 
their spirit and situation as to render it impossible for any 
one to make headway against it single-handed. 

It is true that Williams did not stand quite alone in his 
opposition to the magistrates and clergy, but his following 
was small and was confined to a single locality. He was also 
one of the poorest of political managers, in truth almost des- 
titute of skill in such matters. Two of the three indictments 
which he urged against the Massachusetts polity were flimsy 
and unjustifiable. By putting these forward at the outset 
he won for himself the reputation of an overscrupulous 
busybody and agitator. Had it not been for what he after- 
wards sufl^ered and accomplished and for the influence which 
the views that he shared with other prophets of his time 
have had upon later generations, his place in history would 
be among that class, and among its most ineffective repre- 
sentatives. Like all pronounced individualists, he had 
friends, but few followers. His friends were won by his 
sincerity, frankness, and attractive personality. But through- 
out his career few of his friends stood ready to follow his 
lead in affairs of large practical moment. It must be ad- 
mitted that in the main he received as considerate treatment 
from Massachusetts authorities as was possible under the 
conditions which then existed. 


No sooner had the magistrates aud elders of Massachusetts 
rid themselves of Williams than they became involved in 
another controversy ^ and one of far greater seriousness and 
importance. This had its origin in the domain of theological 
metaphysics, but worked itself out as a political issue of the 
first magnitude, originating party catchwords and dividing 
the colony into two bitterly contending factions. 

The parties to this struggle were the so-called Antinomians, 
who had secured control of the Boston church, and the great 
body of the clergy and other freemen of the colony. The 
leaders of the Antinomians were Mistress Anne Hutchinson, 
her brother-in-law, the Rev. John Wheelwright, and Gov- 
ernor Vane ; while Mr. Cotton was for a time more or less 
identified with that group. The leaders of the conservatives 
were Governor Winthrop and Mr. Wilson, the pastor of the 
Boston church, and they had the assistance of all the magis- 
trates and elders outside the chief town of the colony. Bos- 
ton was in the beginning the centre of this strife, as Salem 
had been of that which concerned Roger Williams. Though 
considerably larger than Salem, it was still only a village of 
some two thousand inhabitants. 

The trouble began with the holding of conventicles, or 
private meetings, chiefiy at the house of Mrs. Hutchinson, 
a woman of marked ability who had come to the colony 
from England in 1634 as a follower and admirer of Mr. 
Cotton. She, with her husband, had been admitted to 
membership in the Boston church. Some time after, as a 
result of the wide acquaintance which she gained among the 
women of the village, she began to hold meetings, attended 
exclusively by them, at which she repeated the substance of 
recent sermons for the benefit of those who had been unable 
to attend church. She presently began to add comments 
and interpretations of her own. These were of a mystical 
and inspirationist character, which made the talks all the 

1 For a most detailed and satisfactory acconnt of this controversy, see 
Adams, Three Episodes of Massachusetts History. The original sources, 
except what is contained in Winthrop^s Journal, are in Adamses Antinomian- 
ism in Massachusetts Bay and BelPs John Wheelwright, both of which are 
among the publications of the Prince Society. 


more attractive to many of her listeners. The numbers in CHAP, 
attendance largely increased, including some of the ministers y^J^L 
and magistrates, and even Governor Vane himself. Mrs. 
Hutchinson thus quickly rose to be an important public 
figpire, and that in a community, one of whose cardinal tenets 
was that women should keep silence in the public assembly. 

Mrs. Hutchinson's likes and dislikes, together with her 
ambition, soon betrayed her into statements which set the 
colony aflame. For herself, Mr. Cotton, and Mr. Wheel- 
wright — after his arrival in the colony — she began to 
claim a superior enlightenment of the spirit, a peculiar in- 
dwelling of the Holy Ghost which raised them above the 
level of ordinary preachers of the word. In her opinion, 
and according to the theological phraseology then in vogue, 
this brought them under the "covenant of grace." All the 
other ministers of the colony were classed as preachers of a 
" covenant of works," meaning thereby, that they lacked the 
inspiration, or inner light, given by the indwelling of the 
Holy Ghost, and were thus legalists, having to depend on 
the careful observance of a rigid moral and religious code. 
They could not rise into the true freedom of the gospel, and 
hence could not interpret the Bible and its mysteries aright. 
Their lips were not sealed. 

Mr. Wilson, the pastor of the Boston church, whom Mrs. 
Hutchinson intensely disliked, and the clergymen of the col- 
ony with whom he was classed as a mere legalist, naturally 
resented the imputation. The Bible was their text-book. 
They considered themselves divinely appointed interpreters. 
They had been trained in what seemed to them to be the 
only true system of interpretation. To have this thrust 
one side, and another which, in their opinion, savored of 
all the extravagances of Miinster put in its place, was more 
than could be borne. If the position of the clergy and 
their criteria of interpretation were discredited, the entire 
fabric of the church-state would collapse. Pique, self- 
interest, professional pride, combined to strengthen the 
resisting power of the clergy. The result was that the 
conflict was soon carried over into the domain of secular 
politics and was there fought out with the utmost bitterness. 



PART Mrs. Hutchinson early gained the adherence of all the 
^^' Boston church, except Mr. Wilson, the pastor, Mr. Win- 
throp, the deputy governor, and a few others. Soon after 
Wheelwright's arrival in the colony a blow was struck at 
Wilson by a proposal that the newcomer should be appointed 
assistant teacher. Before the time for a final vote on this 
arrived, a conference of the ministers^ of the colony was 
held for the purpose of discussing the new views and restor- 
ing harmony, if possible, in the Boston church. Both Cotton 
and Wheelwright appeared and made it clear that their 
views on the theological questions in debate were more mod- 
erate than some to which Mrs. Hutchinson had given utter- 
ance. Nothing, however, was accomplished toward the 
restoration of harmony. 

On the following Sunday the proposal respecting the 
appointment of Wheelwright came before the Boston church 
for final action. Winthrop then stood up alone and opposed 
it.* The unanswerable argument which he urged was, that 
the church was already well supplied with able ministers. 
In addition to that he deprecated the calling of one ^^ whose 
spirit they knew not," and one who seemed to "dis- 
sent in judgment." On his referring to two doctrinal 
points on which Wheelwright seemed to. show the Anti- 
nomian heresy, some discussion occurred in which Vane, 
Cotton, and Wheelwright took part. At its close Winthrop, 
while admitting that Wheelwright was an able and godly 
man, yet " seeing he was apt to raise doubtful disputations," 
he could not consent to his election. Upon this the church 
gave way, and Wheelwright was soon after settled over a 
chapel instituted as a branch of the Bostoi^' church at Mount 

When it became known that Vane's opinions were in full 
harmony with those expressed by Mrs. Hutchinson, his popu- 
larity through the colony at large began to diminish. That 
of Winthrop, whom the Hutchinson excitement and the 
charge of too great lenity had thrown into the background, 
began correspondingly to revive. This so nettled the young 
governor that he began to talk of resigning and going 
1 Winthrop, L 240. a lUd. 241. 


home. On one occasion, with a strange outburst of tears in CHAP. 
the presence of the board of assistants,^ he stated that the ^* 
reason he desired release from office was that he was charged 
with being responsible for all the dissensions which had 
arisen in the colony. The majority of the assistants would 
not have been unwilling to see him resign, and arrangements 
were made to hold a special court of election. But the 
Boston church could not afford to lose his influence. There- 
fore, on their interposition he remained. 

Vane's hesitating course occasioned him new troubles, 
because in connection with the proposed special court of 
election a conference between the ministers and magistrates 
was arranged, and that without the governor's knowledge. 
It was held in December, 1636. In that conference,^ Hugh 
Peters, who had come over with Vane and was now the suc- 
cessor of Williams at Salem, took the governor roundly to 
task because he seemed to be opposed to such conferences, be- 
cause he had occasioned much strife, and had assumed the per- 
emptory airs characteristic of young and inexperienced men. 
This tirade the young governor, who was present, vainly en- 
deavored to check. After it closed Mr. Wilson "made a 
very sad speech " on the alienations and divisions among the 
brethren, which would lead to complete separation if not 
remedied. The cause of these troubles he found in the 
novel opinions which had lately appeared among them. 
With this view all the magistrates, except the governor 
and two others, agreed, and all the ministers but two. But 
the tone of the speech was so harsh as to seriously offend 
Mr. Cotton and the members of the Boston church. 

Mrs. Hutchinson was also called before the ministers at the 
same time and place. Led by Peters ' they questioned her for 
the purpose of ascertaining why it was that she asserted that 
they taught a covenant of works. After some hesitation, 
she boldly reaffirmed her charge, and gave as the reason that 
they were not sealed, and were no more able ministers of the 
gospel than were the disciples before the resurrection of 
Christ. She even cited individuals among those present in 

1 Winthrop, L 247. * Ibid, 249. 

' Antinomianism in Maasachnsetts Bay, 246. 


PART illustration of the point she wished to make, while the dis- 
, tinction she drew between Cotton and all the rest was so 
marked as to draw from him a protest. The conference 
broke up without contributing in any way toward the resto- 
ration of harmony. 

On the other hand Wilson's speech had greatly increased 
the bitterness of feeling in the Boston church, and this 
expressed itself in an effort to formally censure the pastor.^ 
Though Wilson and others affirmed that no rule of conduct 
had been broken, yet he was called to answer before a public 
meeting of the church. Then Vane "pressed it violently 
against him," and so did all the congregation except Win- 
throp and one or two more. Cotton, the teacher, acted with 
the majority, though with much greater moderation, and 
restrained them from immediate censure on the ground that 
the church was not unanimous. 

A debate in writing was now opened by Winthrop with 
Cotton, in which the deputy governor "laid before him 
divers failings [as he supposed] and some reasons to justify 
Mr. Wilson, and dealt very plainly with him." Mr. Cotton 
" made a very loving and gentle answer," but justified his 
course with "divers arguments." The general discussion 
also engendered at this time opinions more radical than any 
previously uttered : ^ as that faith is no cause of justifica- 
tion, a man being justified before he believes ; that the 
covenant of works was held forth in the ten commandments 
or in the letter of Scripture, while the covenant of grace was 
in the spirit and was known only to believers as the conse- 
quence of immediate revelation. 

As this seemed to be downright inspirationism and was 
accepted by all the Boston church except four or five, the 
clergy undertook to labor directly with Cotton. They drew 
up sixteen points, and asked him to declare his judgment 
concerning them. This he did, clearing some doubts, but in 
other cases giving no satisfaction. The ministers then re- 
plied to his answers, showing their dissent and the grounds 
thereof. The ministers now publicly declared their senti- 
ments in their own pulpits, and the discussion ^ became gen- 

1 Winthrop, L 250. * Ibid. L 262. « IMd, 264 et seq. 


eral throughout the colony. The strife had now reached CHAP 
such dimensions that, near the close of January, 1637, a 
general fast was kept. 

The fast day proved to be a turning-point in the struggle. 
Mr. Wheelwright on this occasion attended the afternoon 
services in the Boston church. After Mr. Cotton had fin- 
ished, he was asked " to exercise as a private brother," and 
preached his famous fast-day sermon.^ Whatever may have 
been his reason for so doing, he took as his subject the 
thought which was uppermost in all minds, the covenant of 
grace and the covenant of works. Adopting, according to 
familiar Scripture usage, the figure of a battle, he spoke of 
the adherents of the covenant of grace as confronted by the 
necessity of spiritual combat, if they would not have Christ 
taken from them. They must put on the whole armor of 
God, have their swords ready, show themselves valiant, lay 
hold upon their enemies, kill them with the word of the 
Lord. But he was careful throughout to specify that he 
meant a spiritual not a physical combat, carried on not with 
carnal weapons, but with spiritual. Except for the occasion 
on which it was delivered, it was an ordinary, a somewhat 
dull, and to an extent an incomprehensible Puritan sermon. 
But Wilson was forced to listen to it in his own pulpit ; it 
was by implication an arraignment of his party. It con- 
tained expressions which, if taken out of their context and 
sufficiently twisted by interpretation, could be made to look 
like seditious utterances, as if the sermon was an incitement 
to civil war. Before the sermon was delivered, so grave had 
seemed the situation that the clergy had resolved to discon- 
tinue 2 lectures for three weeks about the first of March, that 
they might meet then with the general court and "bring 
things to some issue." As the ministers were called to ad- 
vise the court on that occasion, it was decided to inquire 
into the proceedings of the Boston church against Mr. Wilson 
and into Wheelwright's sermon. 

On all the questions the majority of the court showed it- 
self, from the ministerial standpoint, to be sound. One 
Stephen Greensmith, for saying^ that all the ministers ex- 

1 Bell, John Wheelwright ; Winthrop, I. 266. « Ibid, 268. » Ihid. 256. 

VOL. I — B 


PART cept Cotton, Wheelwright, and Hooker taught a covenant of 
works, was fined £40, and ordered to acknowledge his fault 
in every church. The proceedings of the Boston church 
against Mr. Wilson, as well as his " sad speech " which was 
the occasion of it, were fully discussed. The speech was 
declared to have been ^^a seasonable advice,'' and to have 
carried "no charge or accusation." This was a pointed re- 
buke for Vane. Though probably for political reasons none 
of the members who had accused Wilson were at this time 
-punished, the elders were specially consulted. They,^ with 
the apparent approval of all, proclaimed and defended two 
principles: that no member of the court — including thereby 
those who were advising it — should, without its license, be 
publicly questioned by a church for any speech made in the 
court ; and that on the appearance among church members 
of errors or heresies which were clearly dangerous to the 
state, the court should act without waiting for the church. 
The first of these was intended to meet such cases as those 
of Mr. Wilson, while the second would give the court the 
initiative against a church, like that of Boston, the majority 
of whose members were serious offenders. 

These preliminaries having been disposed of, it was re- . 
solved to begin, in the person of Wheelwright, the attack on 
the leaders of the Antinomians. His fast-day sermon was 
utilized for the purpose. He was summoned before the gen- 
eral court and notes taken at the time of the delivery of his 
discourse were produced. He was asked if he admitted their 
correctness. In reply he submitted his own manuscript, and 
was dismissed.^ Before he was summoned again the next 
day, a petition, signed by nearly all* the members of the 
Boston church, was presented. It requested that judicial 
hearings might be conducted publicly, and that they as free- 
men be permitted to be present ; also that cases of conscience 
might first be dealt with before the church. Though the 
propriety of this act was beyond question, it was denounced 
by the court as unjustifiable and presumptuous, and the 
petition was rejected with the reply that judicial sessions of 

1 Winthrop, L 255. * AntinomianiBm in Massachusetts Bay, 193 et seq. 

« Winthrop, 266. 


the court were always public, though those held for consul- CHAP 
tation and in preparation for trials were private. ^ ' 

The examination of Wheelwright was then begun in pri- 
vate. When called in he asked for his accusei*s, and was told 
that, his sermon having been acknowledged by himself and 
being then in court, it might proceed ex officio. This at once 
suggested Star Chamber and High Commission proceedings, 
as a result of which they had been driven out of England, and 
loud protest was raised on this account by some members of 
the court who were friendly to the accused. To this the 
reply was made that the term ex officio was proper, since it 
sigpiified only the authority and duty of the court in such 
cases, and it was not proposed to examine the accused by 
oath or to imprison him. A question was then asked which 
Wheelwright declined to answer, and which his friends de- 
nounced as intended to insnare him. Upon his then refus- 
ing to answer any more questions, the secret session broke 
up, and the subsequent hearings were held in public. 

In the afternoon of the same day, in the presence of the 
ministers and of a general assembly of the people, the exam- 
ination of Wheelwright was resumed. It consisted in the 
reading of various passages from his sermon, and his justifi- 
cation of the same. He declared that he meant any whose 
manner and spirit were such as he had described under the 
term "covenant of works." In thoroughly characteristic 
fashion, as arbiters though under the guise of witnesses, the 
ministers were then asked if they taught and practised what 
had been described as the covenant of works. The next 
morning all except Cotton returned an aflSrmative answer. 

This has been rightly considered as equivalent to a ver- 
dict ; but the judgment of the court had still to be formally 
registered. Hence it went again into secret session, and 
the opposing factions under the lead of Winthrop and Vane 
struggled over the issue for two days. At last two of the 
magistrates were won over to the side of the ministers ^ and 
the party of the clergy and magistrates triumphed. Wheel- 
wright was voted guilty of sedition and contempt. Against 
the judgment as pronounced Vane protested, but the court 

1 Coddington to Fretwell, Felt, 11. 611. 


PART refused to enter his protest on its journal. A second peti- 
^ tion ^ was also presented by sixty members of the church of 
Boston, in which, in moderate and respectful language, they 
denied that the accused had uttered seditious doctrine or had 
been guilty of a seditious act. In justification of this state- 
ment they called attention to the fact that the peace had not 
been disturbed as the result of his sermon. This was re- 
ceived without objection and entered upon the records of the 
court. Though the conservatives had won, the struggle had 
been so obstinate that the sentence of Wheelwright was de- 
ferred till the next general court. The question, whether or 
not he should in the meantime be silenced, then came up, 
and, in the interest of conciliation, it was decided to com- 
mend his case to the Boston church.* 

But a clear indication that the conflict was in its earlier 
stages appeared when it was moved that the next court, 
which was the court of election, should meet at Newtown. 
The reason for this was, that it might be free from the influ- 
ence of the Antinomians who so fully controlled opinion in 
Boston. As means of communication then were, a removal 
only so far as that would be sufficient to accomplish the pur- 
pose which the conservatives intended, and it was from them 
that the proposal came. Though it had already become cus- 
tomary for the general court to meet in Boston, it was not 
bound by law to that place, and now, as a century and a 
half later, its temporary removal for political reasons to an 
outlying town was proposed. But Vane, seeing its object, 
as presiding officer refused to put the motion. Winthrop, as 
deputy governor, might have done it, but because he was an 
inhabitant of Boston, and for other reasons, he hesitated un- 
less the court expressly commanded him to do so. There- 
upon Endicott rose, put the motion, and declared it carried. 
In connection with the meeting of this court of election, 
which was held May, 1637, at Newtown, the political bear- 
ings of the controversy became evident on a large scale. 
Party lines were clearly drawn throughout the province. 
Winthrop and Vane were, in the political field, the recog- 

1 Antinomianism in Massachosetts Bay, 133; Winthrop, I. 481-483. 
» Winthrop, I. 268. 


nized leaders of the two forces, and they were the candidates CHAP, 
for the governorship. The court ^ met out of doors, and its ^' 
attention was first directed to the Boston petition, which 
had been presented to the last court after its adverse vote 
against Winthrop. It was now brought again into requisi- 
tion as a means of placing the Boston version of the issue 
directly before the freemen. But as the first business of this 
court was the election of magistrates, this was properly re- 
garded as irregular. But Vane, as presiding officer, insisted 
that the petition should be read ; Winthrop declared that it 
was out of order and that the hearing of petitions should 
be postponed till after election. In this he had the support 
of many others, and a heated debate ensued. Fierce speeches 
were uttered, angry words passed to and fro, and " some laid 
hands on others." In the midst of the turmoil, Mr. Wilson 
climbed the trunk of the large oak which overshadowed the 
place of meeting, and exhorted the freemen to look to their 
charter and proceed to election. This appeal evoked cries 
of " Election ! Election ! " Winthrop then put the question 
himself, and a large majority were for election. Vane, how- 
ever, still held out, and yielded only when Winthrop told 
him that if he would not go on, they would proceed without 

In the election which followed, the Antinomians were 
totally defeated. Winthrop was chosen governor and Dudley 
deputy governor, while Endicott was rewarded for the evi- 
dence he had given of the abandonment of his radicalism by 
appointment as a member of the standing council. All sup- 
porters of the Boston heresy were also left off the board of 
magistracy. The reply of Boston to this act was prompt 
and emphatic. It had postponed the election of its deputies 
till after the meeting of the court. As soon as its result was 
learned it chose Vane, Coddington, and Hough, its defeated 
candidates for the magistracy, as its representatives among 
the deputies. This the general court considered an affront, 
and on the pretext that two of the freemen of Boston had 
not been notified, declared the election there to be invalid 
and issued a new warrant. To this the town responded by 

1 Winthrop, I. 261 et aeq. 


PART returning the same deputies a second time. The court, 
^ " not finding how they might reject them," had to accept the 
inevitable, and they were admitted to their seats. 

So strong was party feeling that, on Winthrop's election, 
the sergeants who had attended Vane to the court, being 
Boston men, laid down their halberds and went home. 
Winthrop was forced to make use of his own servants as 
attendants thereafter. The levy for the expedition against 
the Pequot Indians was just being called out, and not a 
church member in Boston would serve, for the reason that 
their pastor, Mr. Wilson, had been selected by lot as chap- 
lain and he was under a covenant of works. In social rela- 
tions Vane became totally estranged from Winthrop, and so 
remained till he finally returned to England the following 
August. The order passed by the spring court of 1637 for- 
bidding strangers to be harbored in the colony a longer 
period than three weeks without the consent of the magis- 
trates and threatening towns with special penalties for its 
violation, still further irritated the Boston people, for they 
then expected arrivals from England which would strengthen 
their party, and the conservative magistrates now forbade 
their admission. 

All the churches of the colony, save one, were now united. 
The civil government was entirely in the control of their 
members. It was possible to keep out all unwelcome in- 
truders. The Pequot war was quickly brought to a success- 
ful end. These events prepared the way for the complete 
crushing out of the Antinomian heresy and the expulsion 
of its persistent adherents from Massachusetts. The first 
step which led directly to this result was the meeting of the 
synod ^ at Newtown in September. This was the first 
assembly of its kind in America, and its object was to estab- 
lish criteria of orthodoxy on the disputed points and brand 
all divergent opinions as heretical. This would compel all 
to identify themselves fully with the majority or incur the 
necessary penalties. The departure of Vane had removed 
one of the most serious obstacles to success in the applica- 
tion of pressure. Its effect upon the position of Cotton soon 
^ Winthrop, I. 284 et aeq. ; Antinomianiam in MasBachusetts Bay, 06 et seq. 


became apparent, for he was now left practically alone among CHAP, 
the leaders, and found it daily more difficult to maintain his 
independent position. Special efforts were made before the 
synod met to bring Cotton, Wilson, and Wheelwright to an 
understanding, and these bore some encouraging fruit in the 
case of the Boston teacher. The overwhelming conserva- 
tive majority in the synod, and the fact that it early found 
eighty-two of the opinions of Mrs. Hutchinson and her sym- 
pathizers to be erroneous or blasphemous, confirmed him in 
this tendency to harmony. Cotton had not the spirit of a 
martyr, and while the Boston members retired from the 
synod and Wheelwright consistently maintained his atti- 
tude. Cotton declared that he had seen a light, and thus in 
good time saved himself and family from the pains of banish- 
ment. At the last session it was resolved that such meet- 
ings as those which Mrs. Hutchinson had held in Boston 
were "disorderly and without rule." As Mrs. Hutchinson, 
Mr. Wheelwright, and the Boston church had withstood the 
efforts at conciliation which it was supposed had proceeded 
from the synod, they were now regarded as legitimate sub- 
jects of discipline under the charge of being refractory. 
The great practical service of the synod was, that it made 
Cotton ready to join in the work of discipline. 

Notwithstanding the circumstances under which the gen- 
eral court of May, 1637, had been elected, it had showed little 
disposition to proceed earnestly against the Antinomians. 
Hence, though it was elected for a year, after the synod 
broke up it was suddenly ^ dissolved, and another court was 
elected. Of its thirty-three members, twenty-one were new 
men. Coddington, Aspinwall, and Coggshall, however, were 
returned from Boston. The new court met early in Novem- 
ber, prepared to execute the policy of purge already resolved 
upon. " Finding upon consultation,"* writes Winthrop, "that 
two so opposite parties could not contain in the same body, 
without apparent hazard of ruin to the whole, we agreed to 
send away some of the principal." A "fair opportunity" 
was presented by the remonstrance or petition which had 
been presented the previous March by the members of the 

1 Mass. Recs. L 205. * Winthrop, I. 202. 


PABT Boston church, the discussion about which had occasioned 
^ J such tumult at the May court. Though the modern eye 
can detect nothing seditious in it, yet it was now con- 
demned as such. Aspinwall,^ one of its signers, was not 
allowed to take the seat to which he was elected. Cogg- 
shall, though not a signer, because he expressed his approval 
of it, was also dismissed, and Boston was ordered to choose 
two others. Coddington, the remaining deputy, then moved 
that the censure on Wheelwright, and also the order re- 
specting the admission of inhabitants into the colony, be 
rescinded; but this was without result. The Boston free- 
men at first resolved to send back the rejected deputies, but 
Cotton persuaded them not to do so. William Colburn and 
John Oliver were chosen in their places. The latter, how- 
ever, was found to have signed the petition, and he was 
therefore not allowed to take his seat. No one was elected 
in liis place. 

Wheelwright was then called for sentence,* Winthrop 
presiding and acting as spokesman for the court. He was 
asked to acknowledge his offence or submit to judgment. 
He replied that he had not been guilty of sedition or con- 
tempt. Then, by the characteristic turn of argument to 
which reference has already been made, he was told that it 
was not his doctrine which was condemned, but its effect on 
the community. By laying the clergy and churches under a 
covenant of works, a party of opposition was created, things 
were " turned upside down amongst us"; the evil had spread 
to families, then to public affairs, and thus was breeding sedi- 
tion. The political results, it was alleged, appeared in the at- 
titude of Boston toward the Pequot war, while the same spirit 
was shown in the levy of town rates, the assignment of town 
lots, and in other business. The court claimed to have acted 
with patience, and to have sought to turn Wheelwright from 
his opinions, but in vain. Wheelwright, on the other hand, 
insisted that the seditious words in his sermon should be 
pointed out. The court replied that it was not necessary to 
do this ; sedition was there by implication, in that he had 
tried to bring " the people of God " into discredit by laying 

^ Antinomianism in Massachusetts Bay, 136 et seq. ^ Ibid, 140 et seq. 


them under a covenant of works. He was then sentenced to CHAP, 
disfranchisement and to banishment, and, unless he gave ^' 
security to depart before the end of the following March, he 
should be taken into custody. Wheelwright then declared 
that he would appeal to the king. He was told in reply to 
this that ^^ an appeal did not lie in this case, for the king 
having given us authority by his grant under his great sead 
of England to hear and determine all causes without any 
reservation, we are not to admit of any such appeal . . . ; 
and if an appeal should lie in one case, it might be challenged 
in all, and then there would be no use of government amongst 
us." Wheelwright then abandoned his claim to an appeal, 
and, refusing to give security, was taken into custody. The 
next day he offered to give security, but would not agree to 
refrain from preaching in the meantime. Therefore the 
court declared that, if he did not depart within fourteen 
days, he must remain as a prisoner in the house of one of 
the magistrates until the court should dispose of him. 
Though it was now early winter, within that limit of time 
he turned his steps northward, and with the friends who 
followed him the next spring he founded Exeter, New 

The cases of Coggshall and Aspinwall were then taken 
up for final action, and on the ground that the petition which 
they had signed was seditious and that in connection with 
the earlier proceedings of the court against them they had 
used seditious language, the former was disfranchised and 
banished. To Aspinwall the court expressed its opinion of 
his share in the Boston petition to the effect that for him, 
being a member of a civil body, " to stop the course of justice 
in countenancing seditious persons and practices against the 
face of authority, this made him a seditious person." Aspin- 
wall replied by citing a petition of Mephibosheth to David 
and one from Esther to Ahasuerus as precedents, but these 
did not avail. He then fell back on the right of the English 
subject to petition. The court replied that the document 
referred to was not a petition, but a seditious libel. When 
sentence was about to be pronounced, Aspinwall desired a 
Scripture precedent for banishment. The case of Hagar 


PART and Ishmael was cited, and with this, though he was inclined 
to cavil, he had to be satisfied. 

After other similar cases had been disposed of the trial ^ 
of Mrs. Hutchinson, or more properly the legislative hearing 
in her case, was beg^un. Questions relating to the procedure 
followed in this case have been discussed elsewhere ; here it 
is necessary to call attention to the controversial points on 
which the case turned. The charge against Mrs. Hutchinson 
was not sedition, — though every offence might easily end 
in that, — but "traducing the ministers." With this were 
closely connected the offences of holding largely attended 
public meetings, and giving aid and sympathy to those who 
had signed the Boston petition. When at the beginning of 
the trial the accused was confronted with some of these 
charges, she asked what rule or law she had broken. The 
reply was, the fifth commandment, as the command to honor 
father and mother includes magistrates, " the fathers of the 
commonwealth." Mrs. Hutchinson, taking up this forced 
analogy, asked if a child might not entertain and honor one 
who feared the Lord, even though its parent would not allow 
it. This she might have done in supporting Wheelwright 
and the petition. The court replied that this was not to the 
purpose. " We cannot stand to dispute cases with you now." 
Winthrop then took up the subject of the weekly meetings, 
and asked if Mrs. Hutchinson could justify them. She re- 
plied that there were such before she came, but she did not 
attend them, and to save herself from the reputation of being 
proud she began holding her own meetings. On her citing 
Titus ii. 3-5, in which the apostle charged the aged women 
to teach the young women the rules of good conduct, Win- 
throp met this by the quotation of the favorite text, 1 Cor. 
xiv. 34-35, which commands women to keep silent in the 
churches, and denounced her meetings as prejudicial to the 
commonwealth. Mrs. Hutchinson contended that they were 
private prophesyings, like those of the Bereans and of Aquila 
and Priscilla, and the court that they were public, without 
valid precedent, and dangerous. 

^ Two reports of this trial exist. See Antinomianism in Massachusetts 
Bay, 164 et seq., 235 et seq. 


The court next took up Mrs. Hutchinson's charges against CHAP, 
the ministers, which were the real source of feelings of hatred ^ ^' 
toward her. The discussion of this hinged on the report 
given by Peters, Welde, Eliot, and the other ministers who 
were present, of the statements she had made during the 
conference a year before at Cotton's house, where she had 
declared " that there was a wide difference between Master 
Cotton's ministry and theirs, and that they could not hold 
forth a covenant of free grace because they had not the 
seal of the spirit, and that they were not able ministers of 
the New Testament." The ministers were questioned con- 
cerning what at that time was said. All of them agreed 
that the alleged statements were made in direct and harsh 

At the opening of the session of the next day Mrs. Hutch- 
inson stated that since going to her home she had read cer- 
tain of the notes which had been taken at the time of the 
conference, and found ^Hhings not to be as hath been alleged." 
Because of that she demanded that the ministers, who were 
testifying in their own cause, should be sworn.^ This occa- 
sioned much discussion in the court, as it was considered 
by the leaders to be unnecessary and, in a way, a reflection 
on the sacred character of the clergy. The governor ruled 
that, as this was not a jury case, the court was at liberty 
to grant or reject the demand. The argument, suggested 
by Mrs. Hutchinson, that an oath was the end of all strife 
had much weight, when it was seen that many in the court 
would not be satisfied without it. Before, however, the oath 
was administered it was resolved to hear what Mrs. Hutch- 
inson's witnesses had to say. Mr. Coggshall, the first to be 
called, declared that he was present at the conference and 
that she "did not say all that which they lay against her." 
But Peters's rebuke, " How dare you look into the court to 
say such a word?" reduced him at once to silence. Mr. 
Leverett affirmed that she had said that they did not preach 
a covenant of grace so clearly as did Mr. Cotton. The 
Boston teacher himself was the third witness for the accused, 
and on their being called had taken his seat beside her. 
^ See Antinomianism in Massachusetts Bay, 256. 


PART Now in an eloquent and diplomatic speech — decidedly supe- 
^ rior in spirit to anything else which was said during the 
trial — Mr. Cotton formulated the alleged utterances of Mrs. 
Hutchinson at the conference^ in such mild and negative 
fashion as to leave little of which the court could complain. 
But at this point Mrs. Hutchinson betrayed her own cause 
by indiscreet words. Almost as soon as Cotton had finished, 
she launched out upon an account of the rise in her, during 
her residence in England, of the notion that she was a sub- 
ject of immediate revelations. After Cotton had removed 
to New England and Wheelwright had been silenced, she 
came to Massachusetts under a revelation from God that she 
should hear the true gospel preached there, but should suffer 
persecution. This was confirmed to her by the words of the 
prophets which this day they saw fulfilled. But she should 
be delivered from their hands, as Daniel was, and a curse 
would follow her accusers and their posterity for the course 
they had pursued against her. These were just the ideas 
to which Mrs. Hutchinson's enemies had been saying that 
her belief led, and in which lay their peril. Her utterances 
therefore furnished the evidence they were looking for. Spe- 
cial providences they believed in and utilized by the whole- 
sale, but they stopped short at that point. Miracles and revela- 
tions, with characteristic halfway logic, they excluded. Mr. 
Cotton was asked what he believed to be the character of 
Mrs. Hutchinson's revelations. His first answer was non-com- 
mittal. On being asked again, he turned to Mrs. Hutchinson 
and inquired if she expected deliverance from the power of 
the court by a great miracle, one that was beyond the power 
of nature. She finally answered that she did not expect de- 
liverance from the power of the court, but from the " calamity 
of it." 

The idea of the majority, as expressed by Winthrop, now 
was that by a special providence Mrs. Hutchinson's own 
words had condemned her. She had admitted that she had 
acted under pretended direct revelations, and not according 
to any rule of Scripture. Before she left England it had 
been revealed to her that the ministers of New England 
1 See Antinomianism in MassachnfiettB Bay, 172, 265. 


were "anti-Christian." Such beliefs could not stand with chap. 
the peace of any state. They savored of the extravagances ^^* 
of Miinster. Therefore, after two of the ministers had testi- 
fied under oath and on behalf of the whole body to the truth 
of what they had said concerning Mrs. Hutchinson's utter- 
ances in the conference, with only two opposing votes she 
was found guilty.^ The governor then sentenced her to 
banishment as " a woman not fit for oiu* society," she to be 
detained as a prisoner till the court should send her away. 

Captain John Underbill, the famous Boston soldier, was 
then removed from office and disfranchised because he had 
signed the obnoxious petition. On November 20, the gen- 
eral court 2 decreed that, because of their share in the dan- 
gerous errors of Mr. Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson, and 
the fear arising therefrom that upon some revelation they 
might suddenly attack those who differed from them, 
fifty-eight persons in Boston should be disarmed, five in 
Salem, three in Newbury, five in Roxbury, two in Ipswich, 
two in Charlestown. Still, in its endeavor to make it appear 
that this act was liberal and tolerant and that it proceeded 
wholly from care for the public peace, the court declared 
that it did not intend to restrict the freedom of petition, or 
the use, when private means failed, of any lawful public 
means for the reform of the court or any member of the 
same. Winthrop, also, in defending himself against the 
charges of many of the Boston church who desired to call 
him to account, declared that he had acted throughout for 
the public good, and thus had fulfilled the obligations of his 
official oath. 

Mrs. Hutchinson, after being detained in a private house 
at Roxbury during the winter and subjected at intervals to 
arguments and questionings by the ministers, was brought 
to trial before the Boston church in March, 1638. The 
abandonment by Mr. Cotton of his Antinomian opinions and 
the purging to which the Boston church had been subjected 
had by this time reclaimed that body from its errors. The 
entire clergy of the colony also interested itself in this trial, 
and thus brought to bear upon the Boston congregation a 
1 See Antinomianism in Massachusetts Bay, 283. ^ Ck)l. Bees. L 211. 


PART force of orthodox opinion which was irresistible. In this 
^ J trial the clergy were the managers and chief spokesmen, 

and by a form of procedure which was similar to that em- 
ployed by the magistrates before the general court, they se- 
cured the conviction of Mrs. Hutchinson and her solemn 
excommunication. Mr. Wilson had the satisfaction of pro- 
nouncing the sentence which separated her forever from 
fellowship with the churches of Massachusetts.^ Thus the 
arch-heretic was cast out, and when, five years later, she and 
several members of her family were slain by the Indians at 
the residence which they had finally chosen within the limits 
of New Netherland, the Puritans regarded the event as a 
special manifestation of divine justice. 

By the attitude which they assumed toward the so-called 
Antinomian opinions the magistrates and clergy of Massa- 
chusetts definitely committed themselves to a close alliance 
for the purpose of upholding a system of strict orthodoxy. 
Tendencies which were operative when the religious test 
was enacted and when Roger Williams was banished, now 
came fully to prevail. Pressure was brought to bear from the 
churches united in a synod, from the clergy and magistrates 
in frequent conference, and from the general court as the 
highest expression of power in the colony, to keep local 
congregations and individuals alike in harmony with the 
doctrines and practices of the majority. From this union 
and resolve proceeded the body of legislation on ecclesias- 
tical and moral subjects which has already been outlined. 
All parties must expressly or tacitly accept this, must yield 
it at least outward obedience, or leave the colony. Protest, 
whether by speech or action, was rigorously suppressed, and 
the secular power was resorted to for the purpose without 
hesitation. The life and thought of this colony and of other 
colonies, so far as its influence could be made to control them, 
was cast in one narrow Puritan mould, and was not allowed 
to escape from it. So little was there of enlightenment in 
New England outside the circle of ideas which the clergy 
imparted or controlled, that it was possible to maintain 

^ The report of the church trial is printed in Mr. Adamses yolume on Anti- 
nomianism ; also in 2 Proceedings Mass. Hist. Soc. IV. 


strict conformity for sixty years, and a tjrpe of thought CHAP, 
which was essentially Puritan for nearly one hundred and ^' 
fifty years longer. This, with the rigorous administration 
and political system which accompanied it, was the result 
of the appearance of the first learned class within the Amer- 
ican colonies, and of its alliance with the secular authori- 
ties. But, though we consider Puritan New England to 
have been narrow and intolerant, we should remember that 
the intellectual activity which made even that possible did 
not exist in the other colonies till the middle of the eigh- 
teenth century. 



PART The maintenance of religious tests and their emplojrment 
^ ^ J for the purpose of favoring one confession and partially or 
wholly excluding all others from political influence, was in 
the seventeenth century a prominent characteristic of the 
policies of nearly all European states. The policy which in 
this respect was pursued by Massachusetts, and by the other 
distinctively Puritan colonies, was quite in harmony with the 
spirit of the times. The only point at which, according to 
the accepted views of the time,. it was fairly open to attack, 
was this : it was adopted by a colony, or a group of colonies, 
and the sect which in their case it favored was not the one to 
which similar favors were extended in the mother country. 
Instead, it was a sect which the home government had 
endeavored to suppress, but which of late had risen in 
revolt and was prominently concerned in events which might 
overthrow the English kingship. With the Independents, 
whose church polity was in substantial agreement with that 
which was upheld by the religious test in the Puritan col- 
onies of New England, the Presbyterians of both England 
and Scotland had been associated in the struggle against 
Charles I. Minor points of church polity, and jealousies 
growing out of national and political rivalry, separated these 
two sects, rather than any differences of theological belief. 
The Presbyterians were even less tolerant than the Inde- 
pendents, and were strongly in favor of a religious estab- 
lishment. Still their rivalry became intense, and in 1646 
the Presbyterians seemed likely to win in the diplomatic 



game which they were playing with the king, and thus to CHA 
be able to dictate their policy to England. ^* 

These events led certain Presbyterian sympathizers and 
other discontented residents of Massachusetts to present a 
petition before the court of election in Boston.^ The leaders 
among them were Dr. Robert Child,* a physician who had 
studied at Padua, but who lived in the colony without 
practising his profession ; Samuel Maverick, who had lived 
in New England since the time of Robert Gorges, but had 
held aloof from its churches and leaders ; Thomas Fowle, a 
merchant, who, though a church member, had not procured 
admission as a freeman ; and John Dand, who was formerly 
a grocer of London. They also had the support of Major 
John Child, a brother of the first named, and of William 
Vassall of Plymouth, who had been one of the first assist- 
ants of the Massachusetts company and was a brother 
of Samuel Vassall, the influential Presbyterian leader in 
England. William Vassall himself was a man of energy 
and for some time had been laboring among the discontented 
in both Plymouth and Massachusetts to secure larger indul- 
gence ^ for all law-abiding Protestant dissenters, and greater 
conformity with English law in the administration of govern- 
ment. The petitioners declared that a settled government 
according to the laws of England did not seem to them to 
have been established there ; they were not sure of the com- 
fortable enjoyment of their lives, liberties, and estates as 
freeborn English subjects. They lived in fear of illegal 
commitments, unjust fines, taxes, and impressments, undue 
oaths subject to exposition according to the will of those 
who imposed them and not according to the " due and un- 
bowed rule of law." Though the class of men whom the 
petitioners represented were good and loyal subjects and 
friends of parliament, though they had shared all burdens in 

1 Hutchinson Collection, Pubs, of Prince Society, L 214 et seq, ; Winthrop, 
II. 319, 340, 346 et seq. 

« Child, New Englands Jonas cast up at London, in Force, Tracts, IV. ; 
also in 2 Mass. Hist Coll. IV ; Winslow, New Englands Salamander, in 
3 Mass. Hist. Coll. II. 

« Hutchinson Collection, I. 172-174. 

VOL. I — S 


>ART the colony, yet they were debarred from civil employments 
^^' and could not even vote for civil or military officers.^ 

The reason for this was that they were not church mem- 
bers. And yet they were in sympathy with the latest and 
best reformation in both England and Scotland. They 
therefore asked that the conditions of church membership be 
so broadened that members of the Church of England, who 
were not scandalous in their lives, might be admitted to full 
fellowship in the congregations. Further than this, they 
insisted that, upon the taking of the oath of allegiance, with- 
out the imposition of any oaths ^ or covenants which were 
not warranted by the patent, they might be admitted to the 
liberties to which all free Englishmen were accustomed both 
at home and in the plantations. They asked that none be 
banished from the colony unless they violated known laiws 
of England. They objected also to the law of 1637 which 
required the assent of two magistrates as the condition of 
settlement by a newcomer in any town in the colony. This 
they said ^^ hath procured a kind of banishment to some who 
might have been serviceable to this place, as they have been 
to the state of England." 

It is probable that the men who drew this petition had 
suffered little in their families or estates from the conditions 
of which they complained. Their purely religious disabili- 
ties could have been removed by restoring in part the parish 
system of England and Scotland in the way later urged by 
the supporters of the so-called halfway covenant. Of the 
demand for that, this petition was an early intimation. It 
is not unlikely that the petitioners sought supremacy for 
their own party rather than full admission to the Massachu- 
setts churches. It is certain that political change was what 
they chiefly sought, and that, if they were genuine Presby- 
terians, and could have reached political control, they would 
have favored a religious establishment with the proscription 

^ This the petitioners afterwards admitted to be an exaggeration, inas- 
much as some non-freemen did vote in town affairs, and among the forms of 
business in which they shared was the election of local militia officers. 

^ To the oath of fidelity the petitioners objected without reason, for such 
an oath was required in all the chartered colonies. 


of many forms of dissent. Their petition also contained CHA 
exaggerations and gave undue prominence to some matters 
of inferior importance. But notwithstanding these facts, it 
touched the most vulnerable point in the Massachusetts 
system, the religious test, and therefore was rightly regarded 
by the magistrates and clergy as a serious attack. 

The petition was a protest of the unenfranchised against 
the policy which, without express warrant in the charter or 
in English law, excluded them from equal privileges in 
church and commonwealth. A colony franchise which was 
limited by a freehold qualification could provoke no criti- 
cism, because the qualification was of the same kind as that 
which existed in the mother country. But a religious quali- 
fication pure and simple, one, too, the object of which was to 
commit the control of a colony to a body of dissenters which 
until recently had enjoyed no special recognition at home, 
naturally occasioned comment. The justification for that 
comment was increased by the prominence which was given 
to the Mosaic Law and the practice of Israel as a source of 
precedents. It might be within the authority of the Massa- 
chusetts company to establish such a qualification and follow 
such a course, but it was an unusual, an exceptional, thing to 
do. It involved a radical departure from general usage, one 
which sharply distinguished the colonies that adopted it 
from other colonies and from all the leading states of Europe 
as well. It gave to them a certain Utopian character. For 
this reason intelligent non-freemen, men of respectable social 
position, in such a colony might properly feel that they were 
cut loose from the moorings of English law and policy and 
were subjects of a new regime. The main purpose sought 
by this government was distinct from those objects toward 
which English effort had been directed. Its laws might not 
be generally or directly repugnant to those of England, but 
some of the most important among them would look strange 
in an English statute book. The course of argument by 
which policies were frequently approved or condemned would 
sound still more strange to English ears. The non-freeman, 
moreover, however large the amount of property which he 
might possess in the colony, could in no appreciable manner 


*ART influence its political life. He was embarked in a craft over 
J whose steering apparatus he had no control. So far as he 
was concerned the discretion of the colony government was 
absolute. It might tax him as it chose, he was without 
representation ; while before its tribunals, civil or ecclesias- 
tical, his cause was likely to receive a prejudiced hearing. 

The guaranties which protected the freeman against 
governmental oppression were insufficient ; for the simple 
inhabitant they were almost non-existent. Winthrop's argu- 
ments on arbitrary government did not fully reach his case, 
and were scarcely intended to do so. It was through the 
petition of Child and his associates that these thoughts 
found almost their only expression in Puritan Massachusetts. 

As complete religious freedom, or the separation of church 
from commonwealth, was not claimed, but instead attention 
was called to a divergence of the law and polity of Massa- 
chusetts from that of England, an appeal to the home gov- 
ernment was at once suggested by the petitioners as a means 
of redress. It was from that quarter alone that the assumed 
independence of the colony could be threatened. For this 
reason a committee of the general court was appointed to 
answer the petition, and preparation was made to meet, 
through an agent, any charges which might be presented 
in England. Winthrop, Dudley, and Bellingham were the 
principal members of the committee. After emphasizing the 
frugal and honest manner in which the government of M^rssa- 
chusetts was conducted — a fact which the petitioners ad- 
mitted at the outset — the committee in its reply undertook 
to compare at length the provisions of the Body of Liberties 
with those of Magna Carta and the principles of the common 
law, for the purpose of showing that they were in funda- 
mental agreement, and that civil liberty was as well guar- 
antied by the one as by the other. The comparison, though 
far from being exhaustive, showed, as a matter of course, a 
very satisfactory agreement, so far as the letter of the law 
concerning property, family relations, and the administration 
of justice went. But it failed to meet the chief point raised 
by the petitioners, for the reason that the law of the colony 
excluded the adherents of the leading religious confessions in 


England from political rights in the colony. That condition CHAP, 
of things was too unnatural to continue permanent. So ^" 
long as it continued, if the dissenters in Massachusetts, 
emboldened by the favors they were enjoying in England, 
should attempt to worship by themselves they would at once 
be exposed to prosecution. If they petitioned against this, 
their petitions were more than likely to be treated as con- 
structive sedition. Upon this charge they would speedily 
be brought before the magistrates or the general court and 
banished from the colony. The scenes enacted in the trials 
of the Antinomians would be repeated. There was no room 
for religious freedom and, as things then were, little room for 
schemes of religious comprehension, in Massachusetts. In 
its attitude toward non-freemen or others who were promot- 
ing such schemes the Massachusetts government was intoler- 
ant and arbitrary. Its judges and juries were prejudiced, and 
its judicial procedure offered no protection for the accused. 
When Winthrop undertook to defend the colony government 
against the charge of arbitrariness, he had in mind only its 
structure and the application of its power for the purposes 
of protecting such civil rights as non-freemen were generally 
believed to possess. Religious freedom was not among these, 
and almost any means were considered to be lawful which 
were found necessary for the suppression of dissent. 

The knowledge that the petitioners intended to appeal to 
parliament or to the commissioners of plantations, drew from 
the Massachusetts authorities some very suggestive state- 
ments concerning the relations in which they understood the 
colony to stand toward the home government.^ Both magis- 
trates and clergy gave their opinions before the general court. 
All the magistrates agreed that the charter was the founda- 
tion of the government, but they divided on the extent of 
subordination which it required to the home government. 
Some thought that parliament might repeal the laws and 
reverse the judgments of Massachusetts, and therefore that 
a petition should be sent for an enlargement of power. 
Others were of opinion that, though the obligations of alle- 
giance were due, yet Massachusetts was given authority by 

I Winthrop, 11. 340, 344. 


PART the charter to establish all the necessary organs of govem- 
ment and to use them for administrative purposes. They 
did not need the help of a general governor or other superior 
power to complete their government. Allegiance did not 
involve subjection in matters of government, but was a 
relation growing out of tenure of land and a dependence 
upon the parent state for protection, advice, and counsel, 
and a continuance of the advantages of naturalization for 
the colonists and their posterity. In other words, it involved 
privileges without corresponding duties. 

In a later conference with the petitioners the magis- 
trates declared, ^^Our allegiance binds us not to the laws 
of England any longer than while we live in England, for 
the laws of the parliament of England reach no further, 
nor do the king's writs under the great seal go any 
further."^ Corporations that were resident in England 
were bound by the laws of that kingdom, but those which 
were resident elsewhere were not so bound. Again em- 
phasis was laid upon the claim that plantations, though 
bodies corporate, were higher in rank than ordinary cor- 
porations. Among the Greeks and Romans colonies like 
these had been esteemed ^' other than towns, yea than many 
cities, for they have been the foundations of great common- 
wealths." For this reason the petitioners were warned not 
to despise the day of small things. To those who held 
these views a petition for another charter seemed unneces- 
sary and unwise. The time, moreover, was inopportune, 
since they could hope to procure only such a document 
as the Narragansett settlements had received, a charter 
granted by ordinance of parliament without the royal as- 
sent, and likely to contain a reserve of full parliamentary 

The clergy expressed substantially the same views, adding 
that the colony answered complaints in England only in 
way of justification, not of appeal or petition. Such full 
and ample powers of government had been conferred by 
the charter, that "no appeals or other ways of interrupt- 
ing our proceedings do lie against us." The course of 

1 Winthrop, 11. 352, 364. 


passive resistance, which was later followed, was outlined chap. 
in the statement that, if parliament should oppose the ^ ^' j 
colony, " we must wait upon Providence for the preserva- 
tion of our just liberties." 

When, after prolonged conferences and arguments, it was 
seen that Dr. Child and his associates were resolved to 
appeal to parUament, they were heavUy fined. This, how- 
ever, did not deter them, and Child began as rapidly as 
possible to collect signatures among the non-freemen and 
the discontented. Preparations were also made for his 
departure. The magistrates now, by a procedure which 
reminds one very much of Star Chamber, had him arrested, 
and searched his trunk and study and the study of Mr. 
Dand, another petitioner, for incriminating evidence. In 
Dand's study two petitions were found, addressed to the 
commissioners of plantations. In one of these, signed by 
the seven leaders of the movement, it was urged ^ that 
Presbyterian churches might be established in Massachu- 
setts, that the laws of England might be introduced, that 
freeholders should enjoy the same privileges there as in 
England, that the oath of allegiance should be administered 
to all the colonists there, that a general governor or com- 
missioners should be appointed to execute these measures. 
The other petition was signed by about twenty-five non- 
free-men, mostly young men of the artisan or servant class or 
temporary residents. A paper was also found containing 
queries about the validity of the charter, how it might 
be revoked, whether certain speeches which had been made 
in the pulpit and the court were not high treason, and 
whether the general court could prevent the organization 
of Presbyterian churches. 

Though there was no proof that the movement which 
found expression in these papers was widespread, the magis- 
trates considered that they now had positive evidence of a 
plot against the government of the colony. Five of the 
leading offenders were therefore arrested and again heavily 
fined. Those who were unable or unwilling to pay were 
imprisoned. The petition, however, was carried to Eng- 

1 Winthrop, n. 367. 


PART land ^ by William Yassall and Thomas Fowle. But when 
they arrived there, in 1647, the activity of the army had 
brought the Independents into the ascendant, and nothing 
could be accomplished. Had they seriously attempted it, 
Edward Winslow was present with instructions from Mas- 
sachusetts to oppose the hearing of appeals from the colony. 

To the Puritan mind, whether in England or in New 
England, the name Anabaptist was synonymous with an- 
archy in its most revolting forms. It suggested the 
excesses of John of Leyden and his followers at Miinster 
in the sixteenth century, which culminated in a system of 
polygamy, sanction for which was found in alleged divine 
revelations. Extravagant enthusiasm, however, and not 
insistence on the rebaptism of adults, was the characteristic 
of the radical reformers in Germany who first bore the name 
Anabaptist. The later Baptists of England and America 
had nothing in common with the early fanatics of Germany, 
though they were forced throughout the struggles of the 
period to bear the stigma of their names. The Baptists 
were Calvinists in theology and independents in church 
polity, differing from the Puritans of Massachusetts and 
the adjacent colonies only in their denial of the validity 
of infant baptism and their insistence upon religious tolera- 
tion. The name of Roger Williams was identified with the 
early history of the sect, and, though working within the 
limits of Calvinistic theology, it helped to disseminate and 
make effective his doctrine of soul liberty. In church polity 
they adhered to the simple democratic ideal of the group of 
autonomous local congregations united under some voluntary 
compact. Union with the civil power and coercion of the 
local body by secular authority they avoided. Their strict 
allegiance to the letter of Scripture also led them to reject the 
doctrine and practice of infant baptism, a feature of church 
polity by which the New England Puritan set great store. 

It thus appears that the views which the Baptists really 
held, if publicly preached, were such as to make them 
sufficiently obnoxious to the magistrates and elders of Mas- 

1 Child, New Englands Jonas ; Winthrop, U. 362 et seq. 


sachusetts, even if none of the stigma of Anabaptism had CHAP, 
attached to their name. But the Baptists who were known ^' 
to the New Englander congregated chiefly in Rhode Island. 
At Newport, in 1640 or 1644, the first Baptist church in 
America was organized.^ To the mind of an adherent of 
the dominant Puritan sect the Narragansett Plantations 
seemed a faint reflection of M iinster, not that any thought 
the sexual excesses of the German enthusiasts were repeated 
there, but that it was the home of all strange and extreme 
opinions which by any chance found their way into New 
England. The Massachusetts Puritan of the first genera- 
tion never lost his feeling of supercilious contempt for the 
colony which was founded by men whom he had cast out. 
He was always quick to note manifestations of anarchy or 
disturbance among them, and slow to mark their social 
progress. It was the "back door" through which many 
of the sectaries who troubled Massachusetts found their 
entrance.* Not only did Williams and some of his followers 
become Baptists, but some of the Antinomian exiles as well. 
Winthrop,^ referring perhaps to the organization of the first 
Baptist church at Newport, wrote, " They also gathered a 
church in a very disordered way ; for they took some ex- 
communicated persons, and others who were members of the 
church of Boston and not dismissed." 

After Massachusetts had been in existence as a colony for 
about a decade, Baptist opinions began to appear here and 
there among its inhabitants. In 1642 Lady Deborah Moody 
of Lynn and two others were presented before the quarter 
court at Salem for holding that " the baptizing of infants is 
noe ordinance of God."* Lady Moody was also admonished 
by the church at Salem; but persisting in her belief, to avoid 
further trouble, she removed to New Netherland, where, with 
those who accompanied her, she founded the town of Graves- 
end, Long Island. Early in 1644, and again in 1645, the 
case of William Witter, also of Lynn, was before the court 

1 Backas, Hist, of the Baptists, ed. of 1871, L 125. 

3 Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 885. 

• Journal, I. 367. 

« Lewis and Newhall, History of Lynn, 204, 281; Winthrop, IL 148. 


PART at Salem. He was charged with holding Baptist opinions 
J and speaking disrespectfully of authority. Though he was at 
length summoned before the assistants at Boston, final action 
seems not to have been taken in his case. In November, 
1651, however, he was again presented at the Salem court 
"for neglecting discourses and being rebaptized." 

In July, 1644, a poor and worthless man, named Painter,^ 
who refused to suffer his wife to have their child baptized, 
was whipped. No law had then been enacted for the punish- 
ment of such an offence, and Winthrop states that it was 
inflicted, "not for his opinion, but for his reproaching the 
Lord's ordinance, and for his bold and evil behaviour both 
at home and in the Court." 

But, owing to the increase within the colony of Baptist 
opinions,* the magistrates and elders were already consider- 
ing a measure for their restraint. This was passed in 
November, 1644.^ In the preamble of this act not only is 
the rising sect charged with being successors of the Ana- 
baptists of Miinster, but they are made to deny the lawful- 
ness of magistracy and of making war, both of these being 
opinions which they never held. The act provided that, if 
any within the colony should openly condemn or oppose the 
baptizing of infants, or secretly attempt to seduce others 
from the use of that ordinance, or obstinately deny the 
ordinance of magistracy or the right of the magistrate to 
make war or to punish outward breaches of the first table 
of the law, on conviction such persons should be banished. 

In 1651 the Massachusetts authorities, acting partly under 
this law and in part under the general laws for the main- 
tenance of the established faith,* punished three of the fore- 
most Baptists in the colonies. They were Mr. John Clarke, 
founder of the Baptist church at Newport ; Obadiah Holmes, 
who had formed a Baptist society at Rehoboth in Plymouth 
colony, and John Crandall, who had previously been a deputy 
to the general assembly from Newport. They were in no sense 
fanatics, though they were persistent in the assertion of their 

1 Winthrop, H. 213. « Ibid. 212. • Mass. Col. Bees. II. 86. 

^ Clarke's Dl Newes from New England, 4 Mass. Hist. Coll. 11 ; Backus, 
History of the Baptists, I. 173 et seq. 


views. Holmes had previously been a resident of Salem. CHAP. 
Clarke had arrived in Massachusetts from England in the 
midst of the Antinomian excitement, and because of the 
dissensions had gone elsewhere, finally settling upon Rhode 
Island. He was from the first a leading man of the colony, 
and somewhat later than the date of which we are speaking 
was to render it the most important services in England. 
His writings, as well as his career, show him to have been 
an energetic, clear-headed, and practical man. 

These men, visiting Massachusetts on business, were enter- 
tained over Sunday at the house of William Witter, in Lynn. 
In the forenoon of the Sabbath Clarke discoursed on the sub- 
ject of temptation to the family and a few friends who came 
to the house. In the midst of his talk two constables ap- 
peared, and, upon an order from a Salem magistrate, arrested 
Clarke and his two companions. In the afternoon they 
were taken to church, although Clarke declared in advance 
that when there he should testify freely in opposition to the 
accepted faith. When he and his friends entered the church, 
they at first uncovered by way of greeting, but immediately 
put on their hats again, and Clarke began reading. The 
constable then snatched the hats from their heads. After 
the sermon was over Clarke began to speak, but before he 
had proceeded far he was silenced, and at the close of the 
service all three were taken back to the place of detention, 
which was the village inn. The next day, however, Clarke 
found an opportunity to administer the sacrament at Witter's 
house. A week later the three offenders were brought to 
trial before the magistrates at Boston. 

Endicott was now governor, and for a decade to come was 
to enjoy a leadership in Massachusetts affairs from which the 
superiority of Winthrop, among other causes, had hitherto 
excluded him. He was a much harsher and more violent 
man than Winthrop, and evidences of this fact were abun- 
dant both in his earlier and later career. He presided at the 
court when Clarke and his friends were brought before it. 
The usual heated colloquy was held between the judge and 
the accused. " The governor," says Clarke, " upbraided us 
with the name of Anabaptist ; To whom I answered, I disown 


PART the name. I am neither an Anabaptist, nor a Pedobaptist, 
_ J nor a Catabaptist ! He told me in haste I was all." After 
a further colloquy in much the same spirit, a trial in which, 
according to Clarke's statement, neither accuser, witness, 
nor jury was produced, Clarke was sentenced to pay a fine 
of X20, Holmes of £30, Crandall of £5, or to be "well 
whipped." Clarke demanded to be shown the law under 
which the sentence was pronounced ; and well he might, for 
the only penalty mentioned in the law against Anabaptists 
was banishment. The governor then, says the narrator, 
" stepped up and told us we had denied infant baptism, and, 
being somewhat transported, broke forth and told me I had 
deserved death, and said he would not have such trash 
brought into their jurisdiction." The accused were then 
sent back to prison. As Endicott, notwithstanding his pas- 
sion, had given a hint that a public discussion might be held, 
Clarke tried to get permission to debate the points of his 
belief with some of the ministers, but failed. While this 
matter was under discussion, some friends paid Clarke's fine, 
and he returned to Rhode Island. Crandall chose the same 
course. But Holmes resolved to testify to the truth of his 
belief under the lash, and has left a remarkable account of 
the extent to which his religious enthusiasm assuaged the 
pain, and enabled him to bear with ease what would other- 
wise have been a sharp infliction. Two of the spectators 
ventured to express admiration for Holmes's courage, but 
they were at once arrested and fined. 

Clarke at once went to England, where he published an 
account of his experience, and that of his friends, in Massa- 
chusetts, with an address to parliament and the coimcil of state. 
But the cause of Massachusetts was strongly supported in 
England by Hopkins^ and Winslow, the latter of whom now 
stood high in the councils of the government. Owing, 
however, to the attitude of Cromwell toward Anabaptists 
and others with whom they were popularly associated, there 
was not at this period any prospect that the English govern- 
ment would interfere to check the strenuous measures of 
Massachusetts. The Baptists, however, persisted. Henry 

1 Hutchinson Collection, L 303. 


Dunster, the second president of Harvard College, accepted chap. 
their views, and, bebause of his avowal of them, was com- ^ * ^ 
pelled to resign his position. Soon after the Restoration a 
Baptist society was organized in Boston and public services 
beg^n. Against this the authorities struggled for a number 
of years, but at last they were compelled to acquiesce, and the 
existence of the society was thereafter silently tolerated. 

Antinomian, Presbyterian, and Baptist had been forced to 
yield before the Massachusetts government when its power 
was fully exerted against them. The first-named party had 
for a short time seriously menaced the peace and unity of the 
jurisdiction, but it had been completely vanquished and its 
leaders cast out. The efforts of the Presbyterians and Bap- 
tists were of minor importance, except as they foreshadowed 
later changes, and they received no organized support. The 
controversy with Roger Williams was little more than a 
debate with an individual. These events gave clear evi- 
dence of the strength of the union between clergy and mag- 
istrates and of the difficulty of forming other combinations. 
Whether church or commonwealth was attacked, the full 
resources of both were readily brought to its defence. 

With the advent of the Quakers, however, appeared an 
enemy of different character, one whose attack was more deter- 
mined and perplexing. The earlier enemies of the Puritan 
system had shared to a greater extent than did the Quakers 
in its spirit, and in the purposes which were sought through 
it. Their social standing was in general higher than that 
of the Quakers, and they proceeded more from the body of 
New England people. Quakerism was an ultra-democratic 
phase of Protestantism, and the early adherents of the sect 
were decidedly plebeian in origin. Their views reflected 
well the character of the social classes whence they came. 
Though retaining the common ethical system of Protestant- 
ism, they sought to wholly dispense with its clerical and 
sacramental features. Many of the externals of religion — 
the sacraments, a paid and specially trained clergy, conse- 
crated churches, the Sabbath as a specially sacred " Lord's 
day," formal prayer, and the usual forms of church service 


PART — they discarded. With these went also the oath, war, and 
spiritual coercion in all forms. In the place of the Scripture 
as learnedly interpreted, and of the impressive externals of 
worship, the Quakers substituted the inner light which pro- 
ceeded from the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost. By 
this they claimed to be directly guided in all affairs of life ; 
the following of this was to them the essence of all religion. 
It thus appears that the Quakers cherished all the beliefs 
and practices which had made Roger Williams and the 
Antinomians offensive to the Puritans, and many more of a 
similar nature. The rejection of oaths and the insistence 
on soul liberty were only two among a long list of articles 
in their belief which were unacceptable in Massachusetts. If* 
the Antinomians had talked much about the indwelling 
of the Holy Spirit, about its light and inspiration, and about 
the superiority of grace to works, the Quakers far exceeded 
them in all this. When, moreover, Quakers first made their 
appearance in New England and legislation against them 
began, their beliefs were in the formative and controversial 
stage. The time had not yet come when Barclay could 
begin to systematize them, and bring them into the best pos- 
sible harmony with accepted Protestant doctrine. Fox, 
Burroughs, Howgil, Nayler, and certain others had for a 
decade been travelling to and fro through the British Isles 
in uncouth garb, violating many accepted social customs, 
using a new form of personal address, and glorying in their 
eccentricities. Not a few women had enlisted among their 
followers and were imitating their example. One female 
convert journeyed as an apostle of the truth as far as the 
court of the Grand Turk. They had preached in the fields, 
in the streets, in private houses, wherever and whenever it 
was possible to hold conventicles. As occasion offered, these 
self-constituted preachers had appeared in the churches, and, 
with or without invitation, had proclaimed a gospel which 
they declared was purer than any to which the hireling who 
occupied the living and the pulpit could give utterance. 
With a towering self-conceit, born largely of simplicity and 
of ignorance concerning the difl&culty which attends efforts 
at sweeping change in ancient and complex societies, they 


denounced the clergy, their preaching, and the ordinances CHAJ 

which they administered, as useless or inadequate human ^^ * 

institutions and inventions. 

We are told that George Fox,^ on one typical occasion, 
stood up in a steeple-house yard and told his hearers that he 
came not to hold up their idol temples, nor their priests, nor 
their tithes, nor their Jewish and heathenish ceremonies ; 
that the ground on which their temples stood was no more 
holy than any other piece of ground ; that all preaching and 
hearing ought to be free, as to time and place, as it was in 
the age of the apostles, and that the Lord God of heaven 
and earth had sent him to preach freely, and to draw the 
people away from the temples made with hands, where God 
dwelleth not. They ought to leave all their superstitious 
ceremonies, traditions, and doctrines of men, and not regard 
teachers of the word who took tithes and great wages, preach- 
ing for hire and divining for money. These, according to 
their own confession, — for they said they had never heard 
God's voice, — God and Christ had never sent. The people, 
therefore, should turn their backs on these preachers, and 
come to the spirit and grace of God in themselves, to the 
light of Jesus in their own hearts ; that so they might come 
to know Christ their free teacher, who would bring them 
salvation and open to them the Scriptures. 

This teaching, though it sprang from the same root as 
Protestantism itself, was offensive both in manner and sub- 
stance to the Puritan consciousness. By relegating the text 
of Scripture, authoritatively interpreted, to a second place, 
and appealing directly to the spirit or light which dwells in 
the soul of every man, even though it might have been kin- 
dled there by divine grace, seemed to the genuine Puritan 
a reversal of the true order of things. To him the word of 
God, and a church and civil order carefully and logically - 
deduced therefrom, were the sum and substance of the 
truth. The Quaker found the truth, not in the letter of 
Scripture, in Sunday observance, or in preaching and church 
ordinances, but in a direct and immediate inspiration. This, 
he claimed, raised him to a higher level than the Puritan, 

1 Sewel, History of the Quakers, L 79. 


'ART and made many of the latter's beliefs and observances as 

_^ , needless as was the ritualism of Anglican or Catholic. This 

position, moreover, at the first was somewhat proudly and 
defiantly maintained, in a spirit and manner which generally 
characterized the numerous sects that sprang into existence 
in the seventeenth century. From Quaker speech and bear- 
ing customary forms of respect toward dignities were ex- 
cluded. No more pronounced assertion of social equality 
than this has been made. To the Puritan this seemed to be 
libertinism, anarchy, an attack on the foundations of social 
order. The restraints Which he had so carefully devised as 
a means not only of holding the colony together, but that 
they might facilitate the transition from a mediaeval to a 
modern Protestant society, seemed to him to be thrown aside. 
It seemed to be an effort to substitute ignorance for learning, 
license for liberty, and chaos for order. There was one word 
in his vocabulary which to the Puritan expressed the essence 
of Quakerism, and that was blasphemy. Into that biblical 
expression he concentrated his hatred of the Quaker dress, 
of his forms of expression, of his bearing toward magistrates 
and the clergy, of his contempt for the externals of religion, 
of his insistence upon individual liberty, and his resolve to 
follow the inner light; in short, of what was regarded as 
his irreverence and essential impiety. Blasphemy, more- 
over, stood in the Puritan code near the head of the list 
of capital crimes. Those who carried themselves toward 
magistrates and others in authority as did the Quakers, 
should, in his opinion, be visited with the punishment of 

Another charge which held a prominent place in the in- 
dictment preferred by Massachusetts against the Quakers 
was this: that without permission they had entered the 
colony, had thrown it into agitation, and, as it were, had at- 
tempted to take possession of it by force. The right of them- 
selves as grantees of the soil, the colonists compared to that of 
the individual to his house and private estate.^ As he might 
forcibly expel intruders who came without legal authority, 

1 2 Sam. zvi. 9 and xiz. 21 ; 1 Kings ii. S, 0, 44, 46. 
s Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 388. 


80 they might exclude or drive out Quakers who, coming CHAl 

from England, the Barbadoes, or Rhode Island, were found ,^ 

entering or wandering through the colony. They had left 
homes and in many cases dependent families to wander from 
place to place, pursuing their supposed divine mission. It 
is not surprising that they were regarded as vagabonds and 
so treated. Pushing the analogy to the extreme point, the 
general court agreed that, if private persons might rightfully 
shed the blood or take the lives of such invaders, the Quakers 
would have none to blame but themselves, if the guardians 
of the commonwealth should insist that their lives be for- 
feited as the penalty of their rash intrusion. And if this argu- 
ment were not sufficient to justify the infliction of the death 
penalty, the magistrates and elders held still in reserve the 
necessity of protection against wild animals and contagious 

In thus describing the attitude which was assumed by the 
Puritan toward the Quaker, and the arguments by which he 
supported it, no effort is made to justify or condemn the one 
party or the other. The sole object has been to show how 
the case appeared to minds of men in the seventeenth cen- 
tury whose intelligence was above the average, though their 
sympathies may not have been broader than those of most of 
their contemporaries. Both parties, as is customary in such 
cases, exaggerated their own excellencies and the faults of 
their opponents. The Quakers were not libertines, though 
some of them behaved as if they were such. Through their 
insistence upon the right of private judgment, their passive 
but determined opposition to war and to oppression in all 
forms, the preference they everywhere showed for simple 
and quiet modes of life, they contributed toward the human^ 
itarian trend of the eighteenth century. But these things 
the Puritan could neither see nor appreciate. Had he seen 
or welcomed them, he would not have been a genuine Puri- 
tan ; such a feat would have proven that the individual who 
performed it was free from some of the essential limitations 
of Puritanism. Even Roger Williams was unable to per- 
ceive the excellencies which lay concealed under the harsh 
exterior of the early Quakers. That men with the views 

VOL. I — T 



ART and temper of the Massachusetts leaders would make no 
J effort to discover them goes without saying. To imply that 
they might have reacted against the impact of Quakerism 
otherwise than they did, is to becloud the subject and to ap- 
ply to the events criteria which lay outside the mental hori- 
zon of the Puritan. Under the limitations which were 
inherent in their views concerning the mission they were to 
fulfil in the world, they could not have met the stubborn 
aggressiveness of the Quakers with measures essentially dif- 
ferent from those which they employed. If Roger Williams 
or the Antinomians or the Baptists, after being banished 
because they refused to yield to admonition and conform, 
had repeatedly returned and sought to win converts, they 
would have been visited with the penalties from which the 
Quakers suffered. The infliction of the death penalty did 
not awaken the feelings in the seventeenth century which it 
occasions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The 
list of capital crimes was then far larger than now, and the 
courts threw the burden of proof on the accused rather than 
on the government. When the general court explained the 
motives by which Massachusetts had been guided in its treat- 
ment of Quakers, it did not seek to apologize. It felt no 
need of apology ; it had simply acted naturally. The con- 
duct of the other Puritan colonies was fundamentally the 
same as their own, the fact that they refrained from execut- 
ing the death penalty being a matter of degree only, due 
perhaps to their lack of charters and to the fact that they 
were not molested so much as was Massachusetts. 

Some modern writers have contended that Massachusetts, 
and therefore the other colonies as well, had no right to ex- 
clude Quakers from her borders ; but, however desirable it 
might be that she should not have that right, it is difficult to 
find the law that would deny it to her. No colony was re- 
quired by charter to receive all who might come or be sent 
across its borders. We know that since 1637 one of her 
statutes had forbidden the harboring of strangers for more 
than three weeks within any town without, the approval of 
the magistrates. That was still in force. It had not been 
submitted to the home government for its approval or disap- 


proval ; but Massachusetts was not required by her charter CHAI 
to do this, and none of her acts prior to 1690 were so sub- ^' 
mitted. They were, however, all valid laws in Massachu- 
setts, and we know of no English enactment which would 
have made an exception of the so-called alien act of 1637, or 
of the acts which were specifically directed against Quakers 
or other sectaries. In Massachusetts itself there was no 
guaranty, either for freeholder, resident, or newcomer, 
against a law once passed and promulgated. Such was the 
neglect at the time of legal security for intellectual or reli- 
gious dissent. 

No English statute required that all subjects of the crown 
should be admitted into the colonies, and it is very doubtful 
if any principle of the common law deducible from Magna 
Carta required it. We know that the colonies generally 
exerted influence to prevent undesirable settlers from being 
forced upon them. All proprietors and others who had 
control over the despatch of emigrants exercised some qhoice 
and selection ; they sought persons with desirable qualities 
and encouraged them to go; they avoided or discouraged 
the undesirable. This would imply the recognition of a cer- 
tain right of that character. For aught we know it was as 
lawful for Massachusetts to exclude persons for religious 
reasons, as for Virginia to exclude them because they liad 
been criminals or vagabonds. That matter had not been 
regulated by the English government, and hence remained 
under the control of the colonies. That the home govern- 
ment in the seventeenth century would never have forced 
any except a penal colony to receive Quakers is practically 
certain. In view of these considerations, and to those who 
are familiar with its religious system and with the efforts 
that were put forth to uphold it, the attitude which the 
Massachusetts authorities assumed toward the Quakers 
should occasion no surprise. To the adherents of the Eng- 
lish Church, whether at home or abroad, the Quaker in the 
seventeenth centuxy was an object of intense aversion. 
Among the Dutch he was far from welcome. To Catholics, 
had they been in power, he would have been equally offen- 
sive. To the Puritan, in whatever country or colony he 


'ART might be, Quaker doctrines seemed to imperil not only the 
• J church and civil power, but the very foundations of morality 
as well. 

The magistrates of Rhode Island wrote that ^^ their doc- 
trines tend to very absolute cutting downe and overtuminge 
relations and civill government among men, if generally 
received." That Roger Williams's denunciation of them was 
unmeasured is well known, and it found abundant utterance 
in his disputation with the friends of George Fox.^ The 
general court of Plymouth declared that their doctrine 
and practices tended " to the Subversion of the f oundamen- 
tails of the Christian Religion, Church order and the Civill 
peace of the Government, as appears by the Testimonies given 
in sundry depositions and otherwise." ^ The commissioners 
of the United Colonies, moved certainly in part by the strenu- 
ous feelings which prevailed in Massachusetts and New 
Haven, expressed Puritan sentiments in characteristic form 
in the preamble to their resolution* of September, 1658, 
" Whereas there is an accursed and pernisious sect of here- 
tiques lately Risen up in the world whoe are commonly called 
Quakers whoe take upon them to bee ymediately sent of God 
and Infallably assisted; whoe doe speak and write blas- 
phemes thinges dispising Government and the order of God 
in Church and Commonwealth, speaking evill of dignities. 
Reproaching and Reviling Magistrates and the ministers of 
the Gospell, seeking to turne the people from the faith and 
te gaine proselites to theire pernisious wayes ; and whereas 
. . . they . . . arogantly and presumptuously doe presse into 
severall of the Jurisdictions and there vent theire pernisious 
and divellish opinions, which being permitted tends manni- 
festly to the Desturbance of our peace ; the withdrawing of 
the harts of the people from their subjection to Government 
and soe in Issue to cause Devision and Ruein if not timely 
prevented . . . ." These views were reechoed in the laws* 
of the several colonies which were enacted in pursuance of 
this resolution. 

The Rev. John Norton, in his Heart of New England Ment^ 

1 R. I. Recs. L 377. » Ibid. X. 212. 

s Plymouth Recs. XI. 100. * New Haven CoL Recs. II. 238. 


which was prepared at the request of the general court of CHAT 
Massachusetts and therefore contains an authoritative argu- 
ment on the subject, traced Quakerism to an origin among 
the ^^ libertines and enthusiasts " of the early Reformation, 
who in turn reproduced some of the most dangerous ten- 
dencies that appeared in the early church. The Quakers, 
according to his view, were imitators rather than innovators, 
and the model which they copied was the Anabaptism of 
M iinster. Norton's history was in this case as good as most 
which passed under that name in his time, though a modem 
would consider it worthless. But it was greedily accepted 
as truth, and it was confidently believed that the excesses of 
Miinster would be reproduced in New England if the Quakers 
were allowed to gain a foothold there. Norton argued that 
their doctrines would undermine belief in the Trinity, in 
Christ as the Saviour, in the authority of Scripture, in the 
ordinances, in the ministry, in Christian magistrates,^ and in 
civil order. To his mind, as to the minds of many others, 
Quakers seemed to be as dangerous^^ Jesuits, and it was 
inferred that laws which had been passed to rid the country 
of the latter might well be applied to the former. The con- 
clusions set forth by Norton in his book were repeated in the 
declaration issued by the general court after the execution of 
Robinson and Stevenson.^ In the declaration a characteristic 
turn was given to the argument, to the effect that, as one 
would protect his family from persons infected with the 
plague, or other contagious, noisome, or mortal diseases, and 
from those, too, who, while in that condition, should try to 
force their way into private dwellings, so the fathers of the 
commonwealth should protect it against the moral contagion 
which must result from the teachings of the Quakers. " And 
if sheepe and lambes," they continued with a change of figure, 
" cannot be preserved from the dainger of woolves, but the 
woolves will breake in amongst them, it is easy to see what 
the shepherd or keeper of the sheepe may lawfully doe in 
such a case." 

In 1666 Quakers began to visit New England. In July 
of that year Mary Fisher and Anne Austin came to Boston 

1 Heart of New England Rent, 2 et seq. ^ Mass. CoL Bees. IV^. 8S6. 


in a vessel from Barbadoes. No sooner had they arrived 
than the council,^ under the authority of the laws against 
heretics which were already in existence, ordered that their 
books should be seized, and that the women themselves 
should be kept in close imprisonment until the shipmaster 
who had brought them could remove them from the colony. 
The captain was put under heavy bonds to do this speedily. 
The Quakeresses were then brought on shore, the pamphlets 
found in their possession which set forth and defended the 
principles of their sect were burned, and after they had been 
lodged in prison, the accused were strictly examined to see 
if they might not be witches. After an imprisonment of 
about five weeks, during which time the window of their 
prison was kept boarded up so that no one should commu- 
nicate with them, and they were denied writing materials 
and light, they were shipped for Barbadoes. A few days 
before their release eight more Quakers arrived from Lon- 
don, and they were treated in a similar manner, with the 
exception that the Rev. John Norton * held conferences with 
them in prison for two days, chiefly over the question 
whether the Scriptures were the only rule and guide of life, 
or were subordinate to the quickenings of the inner light. 
Endicott was governor, and Bellingham was deputy governor. 
The three men with whom the Quakers thus early came in 
contact were distinctly the leaders in the measures of oppo- 
sition to the new sect which were adopted by the colony. 

The commissioners of the United Colonies immediately 
adopted a resolution in favor of the expulsion of Quakers 
and Ranters, while the general court of Massachusetts, at 
its meeting in October, passed the first act directed specifi- 
cally against them.* This forbade the master of any ship, 
under a penalty of £100 or imprisonment, to knowingly land 
Quakers in the colony. If under oath he could prove that 
he had brought them in by mistake, he must give bond to 

^ Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers, II. 177 ; Ellis, Puritan Age in Massa- 
chusetts, 436; Bishop, New England Judged by the Spirit of the Lord, 

* Norton had just been installed as the successor of John Cotton in the 
office of teacher of the church in Boston. 

s Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 277. 


carry them back to the place whence he brought them. CHAP. 
All Quakers who came within the jurisdiction were forth- 
with to be committed to the house of correction, whipped, 
and set to hard labor. Penalties were also affixed to the 
importation and sale of Quaker books, and to the defence 
of their opinions. Those who should revile magistrates or 
ministers, ^^ as is usuall with the Quakers," should be pun- 
ished with whipping or fine. Nicholas Upshall, a respected 
citizen of Boston, sixty years of age, had expressed sympathy 
with Mary Fisher and Anne Austin, and had given the 
jailer five shillings a week for being allowed to bring food to 
them* When the law just outlined was being proclaimed 
through the town, Upshall uttered a protest against it,^ for 
which he was fined, imprisoned, and banished. He was the 
first among the inhabitants of Massachusetts who openly 
declared his sympathy with Quakers. 

Anne Burden and Mary Dyer were the first* to appear 
after the passage of this law. The former was a widow, 
who had returned to Massachusetts to collect certain debts 
which were due to her husband. The latter, who as a young 
woman had been associated with Mrs. Hutchinson, was on 
her way to join her husband in Rhode Island. Both were 
imprisoned and sent out of the colony. Mary Clark, " being 
a Mother of Children and having a Husband in England," 
came to Massachusetts under the inspiration of the Lord to 
deliver his message unto them. She received twenty stripes 
and was sent away. Christopher Holder and John Copeland, 
being two of the eight who had previously been sent out of 
the colony, now reappeared.' Holder tried to speak in the 
Salem meeting-house after the close of the sermon, where- 
upon the two were arrested with great show of violence and 
sent to Boston. There they each received thirty stripes. 
Samuel Shattuck, a resident of Salem, because of the sym- 
pathy which he showed for the sufferers, was imprisoned 
and afterwards whipped and banished. Lawrence and 
Cassandra Southwick, an aged couple and members of the 
church at Salem, were imprisoned because they had enter- 
tained Holder and Copeland. Richard Dowdney, who came 

1 Bishop, 39. a Ibid. 47. » Ibid. 60. 


PART with a message from England, was arrested in Dedham, 
^ , taken to Boston, and whipped with thirty stripes. His 
books were taken from him, and he was sent out of the coun- 
try with the threat that, if he should return, he would lose 
his ears. 

By this time sympathy with the Quakers was showing 
itself among the inhabitants of Salem and at other points. 
Because of the fact that at Salem they began to absent 
themselves from church and met for worship at their houses 
or in the woods, William Hathome, the resident magistrate,^ 
proceeded under the law of 1646 to fine them five shillings 
a week for absence from church. This occasioned more 
imprisonments, in which the Southwicks and others suffered. 
Fines were imposed on the accused ; they, like all others, 
were compelled to pay for their support in prison. They 
were withdrawn for months at a time from their farms or 
shops, and their property was distrained for the payment of 
fines or for their support as prisoners. In this way not a 
few families were ruined or seriously crippled by the 

Sarah Gibbens and Dorothy Waugh, who had already been 
once sent out of the colony, because of their reappearance 
and attempt to speak in the meeting-house at Boston, were 
whipped and nearly starved in prison. Thomas Harris, com- 
ing through Rhode Island to Boston, warned the people after 
sermon of " the Dreadful Terrible Day of the Lord which 
was coming upon that Town and Country," for which he was 
haled to prison, severely whipped, and kept five days without 
bread. He would have starved had not sympathizers fed 
him at night through the window. William Brend and 
William Leddra, " being moved of the Lord," came to Salem. 
After a conference which they had with " a priest at New- 
bury," they, with a number of sympathizers, were arrested 
and taken to Boston. Both Leddra and Brend were whipped, 
and the latter, because he refused to work in the prison, was 
nearly killed by the cruelties of the jailer.^ This outrage 
awoke such response in the community that the jailer would 
have been prosecuted had it not been for the intervention of 

1 Biahop, 71, 74, 81. « Ibid. 66. 


Norton. Jailers were then instructed to whip Quakers who CHAP, 
were in their custody twice a week if they refused to work, ^' 
adding five stripes each time. 

Humplirey Norton proved himself to be one of the boldest 
of the early witnesses. He stood up before " priest Norton '* 
in his church at Boston and declared that, because of his sin, 
the sacrifice which he was offering was an abomination unto 
the Lord. For this he and his companion were hurried to 
prison under the charge of blasphemy. The prisoners 
insisted on appealing to England, but that was refused with 
derision. Then they were twice whipped, nearly starved in 
prison, and sent out of the colony. Norton was later branded 
in New Haven as a heretic. 

The arrests were often accompanied by popular outrage 
and assault. The hearings were in all cases summary and 
most informal. Much invective was used to the prisoners 
by the judges and other officials who had them in charge, 
and by many of the accused equally sharp and denunciatory 
language was uttered in return. In the prisons hard labor 
was enforced ; the coarsest food, and that in very small quan- 
tities, was provided, and weekly payments for lodging were 
enforced by the jailers. Imprisonments were prolonged, in 
many cases for months after scourging had been inflicted. 
Access of friends or relatives to the imprisoned was, so far 
as possible, prevented, and we presently find the general 
court ordering that a fence be built around the jail and house 
of correction ^ in Boston to debar persons from conversing 
with the prisoners. But the activity of the authorities was 
followed by a* steady increase of the evil which they were 
trying to suppress. New offenders kept appearing, some 
coming direct from England, but more through the West 
Indies and Rhode Island. Some landed at New Amsterdam 
and traversed the New England colonies from that centre. 
Many who had been punished soon returned under alleged 
divine guidance, that they might testify and suffer again. 
The number of sympathizers with them, especially among the 
lower class of the people, tended to increase. The Quakers, 
native and foreign, gloried in their violations of custom and 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 800. 



PABT rules of conduct, especially by wearing the hat in the meet- 
ing-houses and before the courts. This, with their persistent 
interruptions of public services, contributed as much as did 
their doctrines to provoke persecution. As months passed, 
it became evident to the authorities that severer repressive 
measures must be resorted to. Many who had suffered 
punishment and some who had been sent out of the colony, 
returned and defied the authorities anew. The Puritans of 
Massachusetts could not understand the policy followed by 
Rhode Island, a course of action which was well described in 
1657 both by its magistrates and its general assembly in reply 
to a letter from the Commissioners of the United Colonies. 
They said they had found that, where the Quakers were 
opposed by argument and not by force, they gained few con- 
verts, and did not like to come. They wished to be perse- 
cuted, because thereby they won more adherents. They 
began to loathe Rhode Island, because there they were not 
opposed and won few converts. The general assembly took 
its stand upon the principle of freedom of conscience, and 
maintained it, even though Massachusetts threatened to 
prohibit trade with her in order that the Puritan faith might 
be preserved intact.^ 

In May, 1658,^ Quaker meetings were forbidden, and those 
who were found attending them were required to pay for every 
such offence ten shillings, while every one who spoke at such 
meeting should pay five pounds. If the offenders had already 
suffered punishment for venting Quaker opinioiis, they should 
be imprisoned at hard labor until they gave bond, with two 
acceptable sureties, that they would keep silent or leave the 
jurisdiction. In October of the same year, aieting on the 
advice of the Commissioners of the United Colomes, who had 
recently met at Boston and whose resolution on this subject we 
may suppose emanated largely from the Massachusetts mem- 
bers, the general court passed the act* denouncing banishment 
against convicted Quakers on pain of death if they should 
again return. The petition which brought the subject of 
the penalty in this form before the general court was signed 
by twenty-five inhabitants of Boston, among them being 
1 B. L Col. Bees. I. 377, 378, 398. « Mass. Col. Bees. IVi. 321. i ^Ibid. 345. 


Wilson and Norton, the pastor and teacher of the Boston CHAP. 

church.^ Though individuals had in repeated instances ^^ ^1 

been threatened by Massachusetts with this penalty, and 
though it was the common form of enactment against 
Catholic priests, Bishop ^ is authority for the statement that 
the act passed the deputies by a majority of only one, it 
being brought to vote when one of the opposition members 
was absent because of sickness. The magistrates also, sup- 
ported by the clergy, are said to have originally excluded 
from the measure all provision for trials by jury. After the 
bill passed, the twelve who voted against it desired to enter 
their protest. The magistrates, seeing that the opposition 
was so strong, consented that a clause should be introduced 
permitting trial by " a special jury." The accused, however, 
in the absence of a magistrate, might be arrested without 
warrant. To John Norton the court at the same time com- 
mitted the duty of preparing an authoritative declaration 
concerning the evils of Quaker tenets and practices. This 
was approved and published the next year,' as was also 
Norton's Heart of New England Rent. 

The magistrates and clergy were fully prepared for the exe- 
cution of this act, and their opponents soon showed themselves 
ready to squarely meet the issue. Six Quakers, among them 
South wick and his wife, were banished by the October court 
and did not return.* The son and daughter of Southwick, 
because they could not pay their fines and would not work, 
were ordered to be sold as servants to any of the English in 
Virginia or Barbadoes who would contract for them. But 
no captain could be found who would transport them, and 
therefore they were allowed to remain. Meantime the law 
was preparing its own victims, though a year passed before 
they were ready. In the interval seven returned, after they 
had been banished with the sentence of death impending 
over them if they came back. But they all agreed finally to 
go away rather than meet death. 

William Robinson, sometime in 1659, while walking with 
Christopher Holder from Newport, in Rhode Island, to the 

1 Palfrey, II. 470, 471. » Mass. Col. Recs. m. 386. 

s Bishop, op, cU. 101, 102. « Ibid, 349, 866. 


PART house of his friend,^ Daniel Gold, felt constrained by the 
^ ^^' J power of God to go to Boston and there to lay down his life 
for the accomplishment of the divine will. Marmaduke 
Stevenson, who in response to what he believed to be a divine 
call to be a prophet to the nations had left the plough and a 
dependent family in Yorkshire, and had journeyed to Barba- 
does, now heard that Massachusetts had made a law ^^ to put 
the Servants of the Living God to Death, if they returned 
after they were sentenced away." As he pondered this, the 
Lord seemed to say to him,'**Thou knowest not but that thou 
mayest go thither." Acting under this impulse, he took 
ship for Rhode Island, and there joined Robinson on his 
journey into Massachusetts. About the same time Mary 
Dyer was moved of the Lord to visit Massachusetts again. 
The three were' in due time banished on pain of death. 
Robinson and Stevenson went only to Piscataqua, and about 
a month later, shortly before the general court met, returned 
to Boston. Mary Dyer left the colony for a time, but after- 
wards returned. When arrested* and brought before the 
general court, they freely confessed the reason of their 
return. Upon them the death sentence was immediately 
passed. It was duly executed upon Robinson and Stevenson, 
while Mary Dyer was reprieved when at the place of execu- 
tion, on condition that she leave the colony within forty- 
eight hours.' This offer she was persuaded to accept. She 
went to Rhode Island, but returned the following spring * to 
bear witness against the law of Massachusetts. Being again 
condemned to death, another reprieve was offered her at the 
gallows on the same condition as the former. This she 
declined, saying that she had come " in obedience to the will 
of the Lord" and "would abide faithful unto death."* In 
this spirit she died, June 1, 1660. 

In October of that year the general court ordered that all 
who were in prison should receive their liberty if they would 
leave the colony.® Several availed themselves of this, but 

1 Bishop, op. cU, 114, 127-183. » Mass. Col. Recs. IVi. 384 ; Bishop, 184. 

a Mass. Col. Recs. IVK 888 ; Bishop, 120. * Mass. Col. Recs. WK 419. 

6 Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 410 ; Sewel, History of the Quakers, I. 303. 
^ Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 483. 



William Leddra, who had been often and severely punished CHAP. 
Buid banished with the threat of death if he should return, ^ ^' , 
came back in November. He was imprisoned till March, 
1661, and was then brought to trial. Though he claimed the 
right of appeal to the English courts, as did many other 
Quakers, he was condemned and executed.^ During Led- 
dra's trial Wenlock Christison, who had also been banished 
Qnder penalty of death, appeared boldly in court.* When 
arrested and brought up for preliminary examination, he 
declared that he would neither change his religion nor seek 
to save his life. None had spoken with greater boldness than 
he. When on trial, he called down upon the court the wrath 
of God, denied its authority to pass such a law as that under 
which he was tried, and claimed the right to appeal to the 
home government for protection. The question, whether 
sentence of death should be executed, was laid before the 
court. As the Quakers did not appear at all daunted by 
whippings, imprisonments, or executions, and as the return 
of the king had made the problem of Massachusetts govern- 
ment more complex than it previously had been, it was seen 
that the time had come to hesitate. Some members of the 
general court refused to vote for the execution of Christison. 
The governor in a rage ordered that the names of the dissen- 
tients should be recorded. After the majority had voted 
yea, he pronounced sentence of death. But it was not exe- 
cuted. Instead, in May, 1661, a new law was passed pro- 
viding that Quakers who came into the colony should first 
be whipped at the cart's tail from town to town till they 
reached the border, and then should be expelled. If they 
returned three times, they should be dealt with in the same 
way each time, or at the discretion of the court be branded. 
Should they return a fourth time, they might be put to 
death. Under this act Christison and twenty-seven others 
were released and expelled from the colony. 

By Edward Burroughs and others in England the atten- 
tion of the king was called to the treatment of the sect in 

1 Bishop, 323, 329. The account of his trial before the court of assistants 
is on page 316. 
s Ibid, 334-340. 


PART Massachusetts, and in September, 1661, a royal order * was 
''• sent commanding that Quakers who were under sentence of 
death, or who were imprisoned and were liable to other cor- 
poral punishment, should be sent to England for trial. This 
missive was brought and delivered to Governor Endicott by 
Samuel Shattuck, a banished Quaker from Salem. At once, 
upon advice of the elders, the general court resolved that the 
death penalty and corporal punishment should not again be 
executed upon Quakers until further order. In harmony 
with further advice from the elders, it was decided to send 
the prisoners to England, and also to send a declaration to 
the king explaining the reasons for the conduct of the colony 
toward the Quakers. The despatch of Bradstreet and Nor- 
ton as agents was deciued on at the same time. It however 
appears that, though the prisoners were liberated and 
allowed to go to England if they chose, none were actually 

The apparent intervention of the king in their behalf not 
unnaturally encouraged the Quakers to greater activity. 
This resulted in an increase of what the general court was 
not slow to term vagabondage throughout the colony. " Sun- 
dry persons,^ as well inhabitants as forreigners," it was said, 
"wander from their familys, relations & dwelling places, 
from toune to toune, thereby drawing away children, servants 
& other persons, both younger & elder, from their law- 
full callings and imployments, and hardening the hearts of 
one another against all subjection to the rules of God's 
holy word and the established lawes of this coUony . . ." 
Against the offence of Quakerism under this description cor- 
poral punishment and imprisonment were again decreed. 
The court in the following October,* especially because of the 
large number of Quakers in the eastern parts, declared that 
the law of May, 1661, should again be in force, "provided 
that their whipping be but through three townes." As 
the fires of persecution were still raging hotly against the 
sect in England, the magistrates were justified in the as- 
sumption that they had little to fear from that quarter. 

1 Ellis, 479, 481 ; Mass. Col. Recs. IV*. 84. > Mass. Recs. I V«. 48. 

2 EUis, 487. * Ibid. 69. 


This fact became evident when the king's letter of June, CHAP. 
1662, arrived,^ in which he declared that he did not wish to ^ ^' 
be understood as directing that any indulgence should be 
granted to Quakers. It was still the belief of the authorities 
in England that Quaker principles were ^^ inconsistent with 
any kind of government," and since it was found necessary 
to make sharp laws against them there, the king was content 
if Massachusetts did the like. 

This was decisive, and repressive measures continued to 
be vigorously enforced. In October, 1663,* an act was 
passed disfranchising all, Quakers and others, who persist- 
ently absented themselves from church. At intervals for 
more than a decade whipping at the cart's tail and other 
forms of punishment continued to be inflicted in all parts of 
the colony. Many women suffered cruel punishments. Not 
a few families were ruined by the prolonged imprisonment 
of their members and by the seizure of their property for 
the payment of fines and jailers' fees. The enthusiasm of 
the proscribed was not diminished by their sufferings. In 
some cases it rose to the height of frenzy. It was during 
this period that meetings were most seriously disturbed, and 
that the worst outrages against public decency were com- 
mitted. It is reasonable to suppose that the extreme exhi- 
bitions of zeal were to a large extent occasioned by the 
persecution itself, and would have been avoided had the 
milder course of the other Puritan colonies been pursued. 
But with the deaths of the magistrates and elders who had 
been zealous opponents of Quakerism at its first appearance, 
with the Indian war and the struggle with the home gov- 
ernment that followed, attention was gradually diverted and 
officials as well as people became indifferent. At the same 
time the crudities of early propagandism somewhat abated 
among the Quakers, and, as in England, by this gradual 
process they won the toleration which they had sought. 

With men of the type and strength of personality of 
Roger Williams, with Antinomians and Baptists, the other 
Puritan colonies had no experience of importance. But 
Quakers visited them all, or developed within their borders 

1 MaaB. Bees. IV^. 164. * Ibid, 8S. 


PART in considerable numbers. The policy which those colonies 
pursued toward them differed from that of Massachusetts 
only in the fact that it was less severe : the death penalty 
was not inflicted nor were ears cropped save in the Bay colony. 
Connecticut responded to the first suggestion from the Com- 
missioners of the United Colonies, and forbade any town 
entertaining Quakers, Ranters, or Adamites for more than 
fourteen days, under penalty of £5 per week.^ Such here- 
tics, if landed within the colony, were to be kept in prison 
and the master who brought them was bound to take them 
away at his next sailing under penalty of a fine of «£20. In 
1657 and 1658 acts were passed for the banishment of here- 
tics and the infliction of corporal punishment upon them. 

New Haven prohibited any one settling in the colony with- 
out the consent of a magistrate. In 1658 an elaborate act 
against Quakers and their writings was passed by this colony. 
Both were to be excluded from it on heavy penalties, though 
not involving death in any case. Branding, hard labor, and 
banishment were the heaviest punishments. Quakers, coming 
into the colony to do business, were allowed to go about for 
that purpose under guard, so that they might not dissemi- 
nate their ideas. New Havei^ also had a general law for 
punishing heresy when actively published, the penalties for 
which were fine, banishment, or such additional inflictions as 
the magistrates thought that the danger warranted.* 

Plymouth was much disturbejji by Quakers, especially by 
a group who lived in Sandwich. In 1657 it was ordered 
that Quakers should not be entertained in the colony, on 
penalty of £5 or a whipping for every offence. The 
following year provision was made by law for the arrest, 
imprisonment, and banishment of all Quakers ; also that no 
Quaker, or other person who refused to take the oath of 
fidelity, should become a freeman or have a voice in town 
affairs. Freemen who became Quakers or defenders of them 
should be deprived of their political rights. In 1658 it was 
enacted that a house of correction should be built for the 
reception of wandering Quakers and other vagrants. Any 

1 Conn. Recs. I. 283, 803, 824. 

* New Haven Col. Recs. II. 288-241, 590, 610. 


one who brought a Quaker, or other notorious heretic, into CHAP, 
the colony, should upon order remove him or pay a fine y ' j 
of twenty shillings for every week of delay thereafter. All 
Quaker literature which might be found was ordered to be 
seized and brought to the magistrates. It was made lawful 
for any one to apprehend a Quaker and deliver him up to a 
constable. Public meetings could not be held^ without per- 
mission. Magistrates, like Thomas Prince, Thomas Hinck- 
ley, and Josiah Winslow, very actively interested themselves 
in imprisoning, whipping, and banishing heretics. 

1 Plymouth Col. Recs. XI. 100, 125, 127, 129, ISO, 177, 206, 206. 

TOL. I — U 



PART When describing in a previous chapter the relations be- 
' J tween the colonists of Plymouth and their English partners, 
attention was called to the fact that the former never will- 
ingly constituted a part of a proprietary system. To the 
limitations of that system they subjected themselves, because, 
unless they did so, it would have been impossible for them 
to procure the means with which to emigrate, or a measure 
of support while the colony was winning its way to economic 
independence. Because of the small number of the settlers, 
their poverty and the unfavorable conditions of the soil 
where they settled, the progress of the colony was slow. It 
was also a first experiment in Puritan colonization, and that 
without the advantages which come from the possession of 
a royal charter. In order to supplement agriculture by 
fishing and the Indian trade, subordinate plantations were 
started in the valleys of the Kennebec and Penobscot. These 
causes combined to prolong the somewhat loose and shift- 
ing relations with the partners till the close of the seven-year 
period, when they were dissolved. Joint trading contin- 
ued for more than a decade longer. But with the disso- 
lution of the original partnership, Plymouth settlers had 
come into control of both their land and trade. Politically 
dependent on the adventurers they had not been. There- 
fore the colony at that time appeared as a (2e facto corpora- 
tion, — its essential character from the first, — and as such it 
may now be discussed; The marked difference between it 
and Virginia, or any genuine proprietary province, will 
appear at every step. 

The internal development of the colony began with the 
famous compact signed in the cabin of the Mayflower while 



she was riding at anchor in Province town harbor.^ This CHAP. 


was the earliest of plantation covenants, and is memorable ^ 
solely for that reason. It was in substance reproduced on 
many later occasions and in other places — by the river 
towns of Connecticut,* at New Haven,^ by the settlers at 
Dover and Bxeter * on the Piscataqua, at Providence, Ports- 
mouth, and Newport^ among the Narragansett settlements, 
and by many other New England towns. A tacit assump- 
tion of authority equivalent to what these covenants implied 
had to be made in all colonies where the exercise of the 
higher powers of government was attempted without a direct 
grant from the king. Finding themselves forced to settle 
outside the jurisdiction of the company from which they had 
received a patent, and threatened with revolt, the Pilgrims, 
while acknowledging the authoritv of the king, solemnly 
agreed to assume such power as was necessary for the fram- 
ing of just and convenient ordinances, and the creating and 
filling of offices ; and to such ordinances and officials they 
promised obedience. So far as the act itself was concerned, 
it might create a town or a colony. In this case it created 
both, and the two did not become differentiated till more 
than a decade later. Viewing the event from the standpoint 
of the colony, the meeting in the cabin of the Mayflower was 
in germ a general court, and the signers of the compact were 
the earliest active citizens or freemen of Plymouth. They 
were not made such by admission into any corporation, but 
without legal authority they assumed the position and later 
the name, and upon that assumption they proceeded to exer- 
cise political power in the colony. 

Through their earlier negotiations these settlers must have 
become somewhat familiar with the organization of the Lon- 
don company and its colonies, and from these it may be sur- 
mised that the title and office of governor were borrowed. 

1 Brigham, Laws of New Plymouth, 10. 

2 Conn. Col. Recs. L 20. 

• New Haven Col. Recs. I. 12-17. 
«New Hampshire Provincial Papers, L 125, 132; Jenness, Docoments 

Relating to New Hampshire, 36. 

• R. L Recs, I. 14, 52, 87. 


PABT The next office to be created was that of captain,^ and this 


J office, like all others in the little commonwealth, was elec- 
tive, and that for an annual term. "Saturday, the 17th 
day,* in the morning," says Bradford and Winslow's Rela- 
tion? " we called a meeting for the establishing of military 
orders among ourselves ; and we chose Miles Standish our 
captain, and gave him authority of command in affairs." 
The sudden appearance of a number of savages gave them 
occasion at once to arm themselves and stand ready for con- 
flict. Their "great ordinances" were now planted in 
"places most convenient." Twice again during the next 
four weeks the freemen met "to* conclude of laws and 
orders for ourselves, and to confirm those military orders 
that were formerly propounded, and twice broken off by the 
savages' coming." We also hear of another meeting on 
March 22 " about our public business," which, like its pred- 
ecessors, was interrupted by the necessity of parleys with 
the Indians. The treaty with Massasoit, which resulted 
from these interviews, the annalist has preserved,^ but the 
early orders to which reference is made have perished. 

On the death of John Carver, the first governor, and the 
election of William Bradford as his successor in April,. 1621, 
one assistant was chosen to aid him in the government.^ 
Thenceforward elections were annually held. In 1624, at 
\j the request of Bradford himself, a request which was caused 
by the growth of business, the number of assistants was 
increased to five.^ Later the board was again enlarged to 
seven, and at its meetings the governor was given simply a 
double vote. From that time his position, both in the board 
of assistants and in the general court, was the same as that 
which was later held by the governor of Massachusetts. As 
in Massachusetts, so within the colony of Plymouth, the 
general court was the actual source of political power. 

In the early history of this settlement, as of other colonies, 
public and private functions were indistinguishably mingled. 
There was necessarily a return to primitive conditions, and 

1 Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrims, 180. « Of Febraary, 1621. 

» Young, 180. * Ihid, 189, 190. » Tbid, 198. 

• Bradfoid, ed. of 1856, 101, 110. 7 Ibid. 156. 


this fact was made more apparent by the joint management CHAP, 
of land and trade. The governor and his assistant not only ^^ 
repressed disorder in the settlement, and led in negotiations 
with the Indians and in providing for defence, but they 
managed the common work, nursed the sick, fished, saw that 
the magazine was kept supplied, and acted as advisers and 
guides in all affairs. The governor was also an elder in the 
church. So long as relations with the adventurers were con- 
tinued, these officials, though elected, acted as managers of a 
proprietary colony. All official correspondence with the 
adventurers was conducted by the governor. When agents 
were sent to England, as they frequently were, he doubtless 
had much influence in their selection. When the ship Fortune 
had returned home in 1621,^ the governor and assistant, hay- 
ing distributed the newcomers among families, took an ac- 
count of provisions, and, when they found them insufficient, the 
colonists were put on half allowance. When, on Christmas 
day of the same year. Governor Bradford returned from the 
fields and found some, who on a plea of conscience had been 
excused from work that day, playing games in the street, he 
^^ took away their impliments, and told them that was against 
his conscience that they should play & others worke." If 
they observed Christmas from religious motives, let them stay 
indoors, *•*• but there should be no gameing or revelling in the 
streets.'" In these instances the governor acted as the over- 
seer of an estate, much as the governor of Virginia might 
have done. But by virtue of his elective tenure, he was 
not bound by instructions from the adventurers as a pro- 
prietary governor must be, while the religious and political 
motives of the colonists and their magistrates necessitated a 
unity and a freedom of choice which mere servants and 
planters could not possess. 

Many decisions concerning public business must have been 
reached through informal consultations between the officials 
and other influential settlers. When matters of special 
importance were to be decided, the whole company, consist- 
ing of de facto freemen, was called together. It was by a vote 
of this body that the place of settlement was decided upon,^ 
1 Bradford, 110. « Young, 167, 170, 178. 


PABT and probably also the method of laying out the town. The 
, ^^ ^ ordinances which were first issued by this body were, as we 
have seen, on the subject of defence. Not until the close of 
1623 do we find a record of the passage by the court of any 
order concerning judicial administration ; ^ but at that time 
trial by jury was introduced. When, earlier in that year, 
" the perticulers " arrived, " ye Gov', in ye name, and with 
ye consente of ye company," received them,^ and the con- 
ditions on which they were allowed to settle were " agreed 
on between ye colony and them." Later, when these 
settlers began to arouse strife, the governor consulted 
"with ye ablest of ye generall body."® When, through 
the efforts of John Oldham, one of their number, aided by 
Lyford, the minister whom the adventurers had sent over, a 
dangerous opposition movement had been started, " ye Gov' 
called a courte and summoned ye whole company to appeare." 
Bradford having, by an act not uncommon then, but one which 
would now be branded as the grossest violation of honor, 
opened the letters which Lyford and Oldham were sending 
home, and found that they were filled with calumnious 
charges against the colony, now faced the offenders with 
them and compelled the minister to confess his offence with 
tears. They had tried, in the interest of the adventurers 
and of the English Church, to increase the number of the 
discontented, and by a combination of those with "the 
perticulers " and fresh recruits from England to seize con- 
trol of the colony and manage it in their own interest. The 
dramatic proceedings of this court were varied by the read- 
ing of the letters which had been seized, by a furious appeal 
on the part of Oldham to those who previously had appeared 
to support him but who now sat unmoved, and by the exami- 
nation of various parties by the magistrates. The session 
developed into an impromptu trial * of an offence amounting 
to treason against the colony, and ended in a vote for the 
expulsion of the accused. This sentence, after further 
offences by both, was executed. 

The last among the early meetings of the general court to 

^ Brigham, Laws, 28. > Ibid. 167. 

s Bradfoid, 147. « Ibid. 175 et seq. 


which reference must be made was that called in 1627 to CHAP, 
consider the division of the lands of the plantation. " Ye ^ ^^ , 
Gov' and counsell with other of their chiefe friends," had 
upon mature consideration resolved that a division of the 
lands was necessary. Thereupon " they caled ye company 
together, and conferred with them," with the result that a 
conclusion was reached which "gave all good contente." ^ 

It was in the name of William Bradford, the governor 
of this democratic commonwealth, one of its founders and 
second to none among the leaders of the enterprise, that the 
patent of 1629 was granted. Associated with him in pro- 
curing the patent were Standish, Winslow, and the other 
prominent settlers. The powers of the grant, such as they 
were, therefore had to be exercised exclusively in the colony 
and by the settlers themselves. Before the patent was 
issued the political form which the colony was to assume 
had been determined, and the council made no effort through 
the grant to change it in any respect. Though legally 
Plymouth had to be regarded as a fief lying within the 
domain of the New England council, and after 1636 within 
the king's domain, it wholly lacked the feudal form of organ- 
ization. Therefore, while Bradford continued to hold the 
patent as trustee, the colony followed the natural course of 
its development undisturbed. After 1632 the Records show 
that sessions of the council or court of assistants and of 
the general court were regularly held. The full power 
to legislate, to levy taxes, to organize a military force, to 
administer justice, and to inflict capital punishment^ was 
assumed and exercised. Freemen were admitted by the 
general court; and in 1636 a freeman's oath was enacted 
which, except in its recognition of the sovereignty of England, 
was similar in purport to that of Massachusetts. As arable 
land near the town of Plymouth became insufficient longer 
to satisfy the demand, removals began. Land here and 
there on the common domain was taken up, though for 
reasons already stated dispersion began relatively much 
later than in Massachusetts. These settlements, at first 
called plantations, wards, or sides, gradually developed into 
1 Bradford, 214, 215 ; Brigham, Laws, 29. > Bradford, 276. 


PART towns, in spite of the opposition of the town of Plymouth and 
^ ^^' J of the leaders who resided there. In January, 1634, the first 
constable was chosen in the general court for the settlement 
which later became known as Duxbury. A year later the 
evidence shows that there was such an officer at Scituate.^ 
Annually thereafter constables for these settlements were 
elected or sworn in the general court.^ In 1638 a constable 
appeared for Sandwich,^ where a settlement had been made 
the previous year. In 1639 one appeared for Yarmouth, 
and in 1640 constables were " nominated " for Taunton and 
Barnstable.^ In 1637, after it had been found impossible to 
locate a meeting-house which would be convenient for both 
its inhabitants and those of Plymouth, Duxbury was made a 
town, though its bounds were left to be fixed by the next court. 
Even earlier, in 1636, Scituate was called a town, and it was 
allowed to grant land and to make such orders as were found 
necessary, " provided they have, in case of justice, recourse 
unto Plymouth as before."* In 1638 it was enacted that all 
towns, allowed or to be allowed within the colony, should 
have the liberty to meet together and to issue such orders as 
were necessary for the herding of cattle and the doing of 
other needful things, provided they did not infringe any 
public acts.* They were then given the right to- punish 
petty offences, and the next year were empowered to levy 
local rates. It was also enacted that the governor and 
assistants should, under the authority of the general court, 
appoint and set forth the bounds of townships, as they had 
formerly done.*^ Hence, as elsewhere in New England, and 
as was the case in the creation of the colony itself, the two 
things legally essential to the founding of a town were the 
grant of land and the grant of rights of local government, 
including the establishment of local offices. But that in 
Plymouth the control of the colony over the towns was 
more strict than elsewhere is indicated by the fact that their 
choice of selectmen, constables, and surveyors of the high- 
ways was subject to the approval of the general court of 

1 Plym. Recs. I. 21, 32. * Ibid. 116, 141. • Brigham, Laws, 64. 

« Ibid. 86, 48, 80, etc. * Ibid. 44, 62. ' Ibid. 68. 

» Ibid. 67, 80. 


election. This may perhaps have been due to the early CHAP, 
opposition to the development of towns. ^ ^ ^ 

In consequence of the multiplication of towns, Plymouth 
the town became differentiated from Plymouth the colony, 
and appeared as a distinct unit for purposes of local govern- 
ment. It was a slow process, the stages of which it is not 
easy to trace. Sometime between November, 1636, and the 
close of March, 1637, a separate record book for the town 
was opened ;^ but the entries were made by the clerk or sec- 
retary of the colony till 1685. Then, for the first time, a 
town clerk was chosen. In January, 1633, a constable had 
been chosen.^ The earliest record of a town-meeting is 
dated the last day of March, 1637.* At a meeting held in 
July of the following year bounds for the town were provi- 
sionally agreed upon, but they were not fixed by the general 
court till 1640.^ In February, 1650, the town chose select- 
men and bestowed the usual powers upon them, though not 
till twelve years later did the general, court empower the 
towns to elect such officers and itself define their authority. 
While by these steps its organization was being perfected, 
the leading inhabitants of Plymouth, among whom were 
some of the most prominent magistrates of the colony, viewed 
with jealousy the dispersion of the colonists and the found- 
ing of new towns. The traditions of the first decade were 
strong at the place of original settlement, and by the dis- 
persion that town was losing prestige. To prevent this 
as far as possible, it was enacted in 1633 ^^ that the chief e 
government be tyed to the towne of Plymouth, and that the 
Governor for the time being be tyed there to keep his resi- 
dence and dwelling ; and there also to hold such Courts as 
conceme the whole."® 

A necessary result of the dispersion of inhabitants and the 
formation of towns was the development of the representative 
system. In 1636 and 1637 committees from the outlying 
settlements had been appointed to join with the governor and 
assistants in preparing a revision of the laws, in dividing 

1 Plym. Recs. IV. 122, etc. ; Brigham, 267. * Town Reca. L 3. 

2 Records of Town of Plymouth, I. Introduction. • Col. Recs. I. 164. 
« Col. Recs. I. 21. • Ibid. 1. 16. 


FART lands and in assessing a tax.^ In June, 1639, ^^ committees " 
or deputies from the towns — five members from Plymouth 
and two from each of the others — were added to the gov- 
ernor and assistants to form the general court.^ After this the 
freemen as such continued to attend only the annual court of 
election, though to this, as in Massachusetts, they might send 
proxies. The general court of Plymouth was never divided 
into two houses, though apparently in 1649 such a proposition 
was made, but defeated. A committee then reported, " y t 
for the future, as formerly . . ., the Magestraits and Comit- 
ties or Deputies bee Concidered together as one body."® In 
Plymouth the religious test was never definitely established ; 
but after towns had come into existence the law required 
that candidates for active citizenship should be approved by 
the freemen of the towns where they lived and proposed 
to the general court by the deputies of those towns.* Gradu- 
ally the requirements concerning admission were made more 
strict, till in 1671 a property qualification was required, and 
also testimony from the neighbors of the applicant that he 
was sober and peaceable in conversation and " orthodox in 
the fundamentals of religion."^ 

The territory of Plymouth being small and relatively com- 
pact, the organization of counties did not become necessary 
till almost the close of her separate existence. In 1685 the 
colony was divided by its general court into three counties, 
their boundaries being fixed and county courts established. 
Thus the judicial system of the colony was completed. It 
included selectmen's courts in the towns, with jurisdiction 
over cases of debt, trespass, or damage not exceeding forty 
shillings ; and county courts held in each case by at least 
three magistrates and associates, the latter being annually 
chosen by the general court as special county magistrates to 
cooperate with the resident assistants in transacting county 
business. The latter, besides being the administrative body 

1 Recs. L 48, 61, 67. 

3 Ibid. 126 ; Brigham, Laws, 63, 108. 

* Plymouth Recs., Book of Laws, &6, 57. 
« Act of 1666, Brigham, 100, 108. 

• Brigham, 170, 268. 


of the county, probated wills and had jurisdiction over civil CHAP, 
and criminal cases, provided the penalties did not involve ^ 
life, limb, or banishment. At the head of the judicial system 
was the court of magistrates or assistants, sitting in the 
later years of the colony three times annually at Plymouth, 
which heard appeals and could ^^ call all the Inhabitants, 
Freemen, Planters, or others to accompt for the breach of 
any Laws or Orders established or for other misdemeanours 
. . ." It also exercised an equitable jurisdiction. In 1684 
an admiralty court was established, consisting of not more 
than four of the assistants and such ^^ substantiall persons *' 
as the governor should commission under the seal of the 

The military and fiscal systems of the towns and of the 
colony were similar in all important respects to those of 
Massachusetts, and require no extended description here. 
The county, while it had its treasurer, who received money 
from the constables or town councils, had not been incorpo- 
rated into the military system when the independent exist- 
ence of the colony ceased. There seem to have been no 
county regiments. Their organization came after Plymouth 
was absorbed by Massachusetts. 

Such in outline was the commonwealth which evolved 
from the compact signed in the Mayflower. It was consist- 
ently democratic, and possessed all the organs necessary for 
an independent existence. Though the king was recognized 
in its public acts and documents, so far as its political life 
was concerned it enjoyed an independence greater even than 
that of Massachusetts. Owing to its more moderate policy 
it did not provoke internal dissensions or multiply enemies 
in England. Therefore the quiet course of its existence was 
never seriously disturbed by foes from within or without. 

The last step in the history of this commonwealth, so far 
as we need to follow it, was taken in 1641.^ Then, with the 
approval of all parties concerned, William Bradford laid 
down his trusteeship and resigned the patent into the posses- 
sion of the freemen of the colony assembled in general court. 
The surrender was accepted by the court ; and thencefor- 

1 Recs. II. 10 ; Bradford, 372-374. 


PABT ward the freemen, as the assigns of Bradford, were in name, 
^ J as well as in fact, the grantees of such rights as were trans- 
^^■^"■"^ ferred by the patent. 

" And ye said William Bradford doth, by ye free & full 
consente, approbation, and agreemente of ye said old- 
planters, or purchasers, together with ye liking, approbation, 
and acceptation of ye other parte of ye said corporation, sur- 
render into ye hands of ye whole courte, consisting of ye 
free-men of this corporation of New-Plimoth, all ye other 
right & title, power, authority, priviledges, immunities, & 
freedomes granted in ye said letters patents by ye said 
Honorable Counsell of New-England ; reserveing his & their 
personall right of freemen, together with the said old plant- 
ers afforesaid, excepte ye said lands before excepted, declar- 
ing the freemen of this corporation, togeather with all such 
as shal be legally admitted into ye same, his associats." 

When this transaction was completed, the freemen, like 
those in Massachusetts, were in every sense the actual 
possessors of political power. 



The colony of Connecticut was formed by the union of the CHAP, 
three River Towns — Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield — ^ ^^' 
and of the plantations which they had established or annexed, 
with the jurisdiction of New Haven. It did not, then, 
develop from a single centre, as did Plymouth ; nor by the 
founding of a number of neighboring towns, all of which 
were from the outset coordinately related to a single colony 
government, as was the case in Massachusetts. Moreover, 
as these settlements, with the possible exception of Saybrook, 
were founded without the guaranty of charters of any sort, 
they had at first no express connection whatever with • 

They were not even under the nominal obligation imposed 
by the conditions of tenure within the manor of East Green- 
wich. In their case, during the early period of their exist- 
ence, every vestige of such tenure, so far as it affected either 
external or internal relations, had vanished. These colonists 
left behind them in England no partners who could impose 
a system of common landholding or insist upon the mainte- 
nance of joint trading operations. It was not necessary for 
them to adjust any corporate business interests before leav- 
ing for the colonies which they intended to establish. The 
granting of shares of land to non-resident adventurers and 
the keeping of a colony magazine are not features in their 
early experience. In other words, these colonies did not 
develop from trading companies, and hence they do not 
exhibit any of the phenomena of transition which accom- 
panied such a process. 

Their settlers, as groups of emigrants animated by a more 
or less common purpose, came to Massachusetts, and thence — 



PART some after a longer and some after a shorter sojourn — 
^^* sought a permanent home in the valley of the Connecticut. 
In both stages of their migration they acted without the 
sanction, and so far as possible without the knowledge, of 
the English government. Hence, when finally settled, they 
established a system in which political independence was 
even more prominent than was commercial and territorial 
isolation. Apart, then, from the theories which they held 
concerning forms of civil and ecclesiastical government, we 
must look for an explanation of the origin of their institu- 
tions to the example of Massachusetts. The River Towns, in 
particular, were an offshoot from that colony ; and the influ- 
ence which it had over their development has not always 
been duly appreciated. 

The families which settled Hartford, Windsor, and Weth- 
ersfield had been inhabitants of Massachusetts, some of 
them since its foundation. They were, accordingly, familiar 
with the system of government which existed there. The 
motives which induced them to leave England were, in gen- 
eral, the same as those which animated the great body of 
Massachusetts colonists ; they were Puritans to the core, 
and were thus in sympathy with the general purposes of 
the Massachusetts enterprise. But after a residence there 
of a few years, they were induced by a combination of causes 
to desire a removal still farther west. The majority of 
those who joined in requesting from the general court per- 
mission to remove were probably influenced chiefly by the 
reports concerning the richness and the accessibility of 
the bottom lands of the Connecticut. Two or three of 
the leaders in the enterprise may also have been moved by 
feelings of jealousy and personal rivalry toward Governor 
Winthrop and Mr. Cotton, though this assertion is based 
upon rumor rather than upon positive evidence. 

The later policy of the River Towns would lead to the 
inference that one motive which induced them to remove 
was their disapproval of the religious test, but no contem- 
porary reference to this appears. That Watertown, which 
was one of the towns that contributed largely to the emi- 
gration, was opposed to the assumption by the magistrates 


of the power to legislate and to vote taxes, we are fully CHAP, 
aware. Thomas Hooker ^ also, in a letter which in 1638 he ^ 
wrote to Winthrop, objected to the almost unlimited discre- 
tion which it was then legally within the power of the 
magistrates in Massachusetts to exercise in matters of judi- 
cature and administration. Hooker insisted that the judge 
must have some rule to judge by, or government would 
degenerate into tyranny and confusion — a condition under 
which, said he, he would neither consent to live nor to leave 
his posterity. As this became a prominent political question 
in Massachusetts at the time when the Connecticut settlers 
removed, the lack of a proper definition of the power of the 
magistrates may have prejudiced the minds of some of their 
number against the Bay colony. Light will be thrown on 
the views of the Connecticut settlers concerning this question 
by an examination of what they did to prevent the evils of un- 
limited executive power from developing in their own colony. 
But, before this is undertaken, we must see by what steps 
government was established on the banks of the Connecticut. 
No body of men in the history of the world ever mastered 
more thoroughly the art of forming and maintaining a com- 
pact political organization than did the magistrates and 
elders of Massachusetts. Working under the form of a 
corporation, they aimed to control not only the admission of 
freemen, but that of inhabitants as well. Both the physical 
and the spiritual activity of those who became residents of 
the colony they sought so to regulate that the unity and 
harmony of the whole should in no way be imperilled. 
Moreover, all settlers in their midst whose views were in 
tolerable agreement with their own they sought to retain. 
The most notable exhibition of this policy was made when 
the emigration to the Connecticut was proposed. The 
question was under consideration for a year or more, and vari- 
ous efforts were made to divert the discontented from their 
purpose. When finally it became necessary for the magis- 
trates to yield, they did so on the condition that the new 
settlements, though lying outside the bounds of Massachu- 
setts, should continue under its government. 

1 Colls, of Conn. Hist. Soc. I. 11 ; Winthrop, Journftl, IL 428. 


In May, 1635, the general court granted permission to 
the inhabitants of Watertown and Roxbury to remove, 
"provided they continue still under this government." A 
month later similar permission was given to Dorchester.^ 
In September it was enacted that constables chosen by 
towns on the Connecticut should be sworn in by some mag- 
istrate of Massachusetts. In March, 1636, before the more 
important migration from Newtown and Dorchester occurred, 
the general court created a commission of eight members, 
and empowered it to administer justice and regulate affairs 
in the Connecticut settlements for a period of one year.^ 
Its executive control was to extend over trade, granting of 
lots, planting, building, military discipline, and defensive 
war. It was also empowered to summon the inhabitants as 
a court. Springfield lay within its jurisdiction, as well as 
the settlements further south. The members of this com- 
mission were men who had already gone to the Connecticut 
or were intending soon to go and therefore to become resi- 
dents of the localities they were to govern. There is no 
evidence that after their appointment the parent colony 
sought to control their action by means of appeals or in 
any other way. Indeed they could not legally do so, for 
there was no proof that any of the proposed settlements, 
except Springfield, would lie within the Massachusetts 
bounds. Furthermore, careful provision was madq in the 
commission for guarding such interests as the Warwick 
patentees might have in that region ; ^ and that surely could 
not have been done by annexing the River Towns to Mas- 
sachusetts. Winthrop ^ states that Massachusetts never in- 
tended to make Connecticut subordinate to itself ; but in 
1641, when replying to a petition from Springfield, the 
general court declared that there was in 1636 no intention 
of dismissing the Connecticut settlers from the jurisdiction 
of Massachusetts, but rather to reserve an interest on the 
river, and that so the Connecticut men understood it.^ 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. L 146, 148, 160. * Ibid. 170. 

* John Winthrop, Jr., who had been appohited governor by the Warwick 
patentees, was consulted in reference to the issae of this commission. 
« Winthrop, Journal, I. 342. « Mass. Recs. I. 821. 


Judging from the way in which Massachusetts dealt with CHAP, 
the Narragansett settlements and with the settlements of 
northeastern New England, one would infer that the chief 
reason why she did not attempt to absorb the River Towns 
was the fact that she lacked a favorable opportunity. Had 
they not been peopled by orthodox Puritans and led by men 
of the resolution and ability of Hooker and Haynes, and had 
they not at once developed an independent life so vigorous 
as to enable them to make headway against the Dutch and 
the Indians, the possibilities of prolonged control implied in 
the resolutions passed by Massachusetts at the time of their 
removal might have been realized. As it was, however, the 
three River Towns, lying outside Massachusetts bounds, never 
by word or act acknowledged dependence upon her, thus 
imitating in their relations with the parent colony the policy 
which that colony systematically pursued toward the home 

Still, during the first year of their existence, the River 
Towns were governed by commissioners who derived their 
authority, such as it was, from the general court of Massa- 
chusetts. Their authority was not assumed ; neither did it 
proceed from election by the inhabitants of the towns them- 
selves. What, now, did those commissioners accomplish 
during the year of their existence? They swore in con- 
stables for the towns, though those officers had very likely 
been elected by the localities they were to serve. They 
ordered trainings, the keeping of a watch, and the enforce- 
ment of the assize of arms in each town. By their order 
names were given to the towns, and under the authority of 
the commissions town boundaries were fixed.^ During that 
year, then, the towns were not independent of each other 
or of a power outside themselves. 

On May 1, 1637, at the end of the official term of the 
commissioners, a general court met at Hartford. As they 
had power to call courts, it may be supposed that this one 
was summoned by them. It consisted of six magistrates and 
nine deputies elected by the towns,^ those representing each 
town being called its " committee." Hooker states that the 

1 Conn. Col. Recs. I. 1-9. « Ibid. 9et9eq, 

VOL. I — X * 


PART magistrates were elected by the committees, and by these 
their oath of office was administered.^ This assembly was 
apparently organized in the same way as was the Massachusetts 
general court at that time. Its meeting was occasioned by 
the necessity not only of forming an independent govern- 
ment, but of raising men and supplies for the Pequot war. 
But the point with which we are immediately concerned is 
this : that the general court at once assumed a more com- 
plete control over the towns than the commissioners had 
exercised. During 1637 and 1638 it exercised over them the 
fullest degree of military control, culminating in the passage 
of a comprehensive militia act.^ It also ordered a quota of 
men with supplies to be sent from the towns, to settle in the 
territory conquered from the Pequots and to hold it for the 
colony.* It levied taxes and chose a treasurer for the colony. 
It ordered the continuance of the judicial business which the 
commissioners had been transacting, by a resolve that a ^^ per- 
ticular Courte " should be held at Hartford.* It regulated 
trade along the river and the relations between the Indians 
and the inhabitants of the towns. Therefore, substantially 
the same relations between the general court and the towns 
as those which existed in Massachusetts seem to have been 
continued in Connecticut. Connecticut was in no sense 
formed by a " consociation " of independent towns, for the 
simple reason that its towns were never independent. No 
imposing theory of federal union can be evolved from the 
early history of the River Towns without drawing very 
heavily on the imagination. 

When, in the years 1638 and 1639, the River Towns under- 
took the task of organizing a government in a more formal 
and permanent fashion than before, they were negotiating 
with Massachusetts about an alliance or confederation.^ The 
two colonies were jealous of one another. The River Towns 
charged Massachusetts with trying to prejudice would-be 
settlers from joining them, by exaggerating their poverty 
and their sufferings ; Massachusetts complained because the 

1 Conn. Hist Colls. I. 13, 18. * Ibid. 12, 16. 

a Recs. I. 9-16. • Winthrop, Journal, L 283, 842. 

» Ibid. 10. 


Connecticut settlements claimed Sprin&ffield and would not CHAP. 


in all respects be bound by its Indian policy. The Connect- 
icut towns feared that Massachusetts might still absorb them. 
Hence, when in 1638 Massachusetts suggested a plan of 
union, wherein power should be given the commissioners of 
the respective colonies to settle finally all matters of differ- 
ence between them, Connecticut objected. It would have 
had the commissioners meet, with the understanding that, if 
they could not agree, they should return to their several col- 
onies for additional instructions and authority, and that they 
should continue that process until an agreement could be 
reached. Apparently it was fear of the superior influence of 
Massachusetts that led the weaker colony to dread any union 
with her, except under the loosest forms of confederation. 

These differences and jealousies were canvassed at the 
time in a correspondence between the leaders of the two 
colonies, Hooker and Winthrop ; and these spokesmen were 
naturally led to emphasize the divergence in their political 
views. Winthrop "expostulated about the unwarrantable- 
ness and unsafeness of referring matter of counsel or judica- 
ture to the body of the people, quia the best part is always 
the least, and of that best part the wiser part is always the 
lesser." In his Journal^ also, he recorded the opinion that 
the failure of Connecticut to show the desired spirit of har- 
mony was due to the fact that she chose to office so many 
men of no learning or judgment. This, he said, made it 
necessary that the burden of public business should be as- 
sumed by one or more of her ministers, who, though men 
of singular wisdom and godliness, showed the defects of 
those who were acting outside their true sphere. Hooker 
defended the course of Connecticut in reference to the pro- 
posed articles of confederation and all other matters as pru- 
dent and just, while he expressed, in the terms already 
stated,^ his disbelief in unlimited magisterial discretion. 

It seems that on the Connecticut the controverted points 
in the plan of union were referred to the general court, or 
possibly to a court of election ; while at Boston the magis- 
trates preferred to conduct the entire negotiation. But 

1 Winthrop, Journal, I. 344 ; II. 428 ; Conn. Hist. Colls. I. 7 et seq. 


PART when later the plan approached completion, the Massachu- 
^ ^' J setts general court repeatedly took action by adding a num- 
ber of deputies to the body of negotiators, by instructing 
them as to one point and by approving the plan when per- 
fected.^ Thus, in the end, the procedure of Massachusetts 
was not so different from that of Connecticut as one would 
infer from the language of Winthrop and Hooker that it 
might have been. This fact \^ould indicate that, from the 
fragments which remain of the correspondence between these 
two men, possibly exaggerated inferences have been drawn 
concerning the divergence between their opinions and the 
^ ^ difference between the systems and policies of government 
which they contributed so much toward establishing. 

Other evidence bearing on this point may, however, be 
derived from the utterances of Hooker in connection with 
the formal establishment of government in Connecticut. 
From the very fragmentary notes that have been preserved 
of the famous sermon which he preached before the general 
court on May 31, 1638, one would infer that the thoughts 
he chiefly sought to convey were these : that all public 
oflBcials should be elected, that their powers should be de- 
fined, and that both these things should be done by a body 
of freemen as numerous and inclusive as would consist with 
their acting " according to the blessed will and law of God." * 
Here, again. Hooker must have expressed his distrust of the 
Massachusetts system so long as the powers of its magis- 
trates were undefined, while he also renounced the religious 
test in the sharp and precise form which Massachusetts had 
given to it. But Hooker was essentially a Puritan of the 
Massachusetts type ; he was not a believer in the separation 
of church from state, or in manhood suffrage. In other 
words, he was not a democrat in the modern sense of the 
term, though much that has been written about him would 
lead us to infer that he was. Hooker's democracy was a 
compromise between the views of Winthrop and those of 
Roger Williams. His scheme contemplated the application 
of a moral test to those who desired to be admitted as free- 

1 Mass. Recs. II. 31, 35, 36, 38. 
< Conn. Hist. Colls. I. 20. 


men, and this test was to be applied either by those who CHAP, 
were church members or by those who in their ethical views ^^^ 
were in agreement with the church members. Not only 
does the later legislation of Connecticut show this to be true, 
but provision for it was made in Hooker's theory, by his^ 
insistence that political action should be guided by the will 
and law of God. The doctrine of the union of church and 
state is in the preamble of the Fundamental Orders, while 
the provision that the governor should be a member of some 
approved congregation shows the intention to maintain such 
union. Secularized democracy, an outgrowth of the dogma 
of equality and of voluntaryism in religion, would have been 
condemned by Hooker almost, if not quite, as vigorously as 
by Winthrop. 

The Fundamental Orders, which were drawn up in 1638 
and adopted early in 1639, embodied and set forth a scheme 
of government which was in harmony with Hooker's views 
and to the origin of which his influence in no small degree 
contributed. Connecticut historians and others have repre- 
sented this as in form and contents radically new, and as 
suggestive of a theory and practice which was far in advance 
of anything previously attained. But if we compare the 
positive contents of the Fundamental Orders with the laws 
of Massachusetts and Plymouth, so far as they had been 
developed at the time, we shall find no important differ- 
ences. The provision for a general court which should meet 
in two annual sessions, one of which should be attended 
by all the freemen for the purpose of electing the magis- 
trates, was not original. The general court, when organized 
for legislation, was to consist, as in Massachusetts, of the 
magistrates and of representatives of the towns assembled 
in one house under the presidency of the governor. As in 
Massachusetts, the governor was empowered to summon the 
court for both regular and special sessions ; while in both 
colonies the court punished disorder and the non-attendance 
of its members. The power of the freemen to call the gen- 
eral court was not specified in Massachusetts law; but in 
November, 1639, it was enacted that the court of election 
should meet at the time mentioned in the charter without 


summons.^ The ballot was used in the election of at least 
a part of the magistrates in Massachusetts in 1634, but the 
Fundamental Orders provided for its employment in the 
choice of both magistrates and deputies.^ The provision 
^ for the nomination of magistrates was new, but it was intro- 
duced in Massachusetts in 1640.^ The control of the gen- 
eral court over contested elections is brought out more 
distinctly than in any Massachusetts law then existing ; but 
in 1635 an order had been passed by the general court at 
Newtown empowering what we should now call a caucus of 
the deputies, which met before the opening of the session, 
to settle such disputes.^ The specification of the legislative 
powers of the general court is substantially the same as that 
contained in Massachusetts law.^ The method of raising 
revenue by levies on the towns had been in vogue in Mas- 
sachusetts from the first ; and the quotas were fixed by the 
general court, though in its early legislation we have no 
record of its employing committees for the purpose.® The 
oath of fidelity was administered in all the colonies. The 
position and the power of the governor were exactly the same 
in Massachusetts as in Connecticut, though they are more 
precisely expressed in the Fundamental Orders than in the 
early acts of Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, as in Con- 
necticut, the general court was the tribunal before which 
magistrates and other high offenders were brought to justice, 
though this principle was more specifically stated in the 
Fundamental Orders than in the laws of Massachusetts.^ 
The provision that no one should be governor for two terms 
in succession ^ was, indeed, a new and significant departure 
from Massachusetts policy; but in 1660 it was repealed. 
Even in the omission of the religious test, the point in 
which the document shows the widest departure from Mas- 

1 Mass. Recs. I. 277. 

> Winthrop, Journal, I. 167 ; Fundamental Orders, Arts. 2 and 7. 

* Mass. Recs. I. 293 ; Fundamental Orders, Art 3. 
« Mass. Recs. I. 142. 

^ Ibid, 117 ; Fundamental Orders, Art. 10. 

* Mass. Recs. I. 77, etc. ; Fundamental Orders, Art. 10. 
7 Mass. Recs. II. 03 ; Fundamental Orders, Art. 10. 

B Conn. Recs. I. 346, 347 ; Fundamental Orders, Art. 3. 



sachusetts principles, Connecticut did not stand alone ; for chap. 


Plymouth expressly established no such qualification for ^ j 

citizenship. So it appears that, if we examine the Funda- 
mental Orders in detail, we find in them no important de- 
parture from the system of government previously existing 
in the two parent colonies of New England. 

From the contemporary utterances of Hooker, indeed, one 
would expect to find more specific limitations upon the dis- 
cretion of the magistrates; but in fact the powers of gov- 
ernor and assistants were very loosely and imperfectly defined, 
while no special attempt was made by supplementary legis- 
lation to specify the penalties which might be inflicted for 
crime. We look in vain for the classification of the organs 
and powers of government, and for the clear distinctions be- 
tween them, which appear in modern written constitutions. 
In fact, we find brought together in a single document what 
in Massachusetts and Plymouth had been formulated in 
a succession of statutes, and we find nothing more. More- 
over, though the Fundamental Orders were evidently adopted 
by a convention ^ of all the free planters held at Hartford, 
January 14, 1639, and hence must rank formally as a funda- 
mental law or written constitution, it should be remembered 
that such a body would differ in no appreciable respect from 
a court of election, and therefore would not bear the excep- 
tional character which attaches to a modern American con- 
stituent convention. Also, as the document contained no 
provision for amendment, the general court assumed and 
exercised the right to change it, as it would any statute, 
in ordinary legislative session. As that right was unlimited 
and its exercise unopposed, the Fundamental Orders did 
not operate as a limitation on the powers of the general 
court. So far as any authority within the colony was con- 
cerned, the supremacy of the general court was as complete 
as that of the legislature of Massachusetts ; and hence, until 
the royal charter was granted, Connecticut lacked the steady- 
ing influence which Massachusetts occasionally derived from 
even the general and summary provisions of its patent. 

1 Trumbull, History of Connecticut, I. 110. See also Preamble of Funda- 
mental Orders. 

^ • 


If marked originality is to be found anywhere in the 
Fundamental Orders, it must appear in the preamble. This 
is, in fact, the part of the document which has chiefly at- 
tracted the attention and awakened the imagination of his- 
torians. The frank declaration of independence which is 
there made, and the announcement of the fact that in the 
opinion of the f ramers an original compact was being formed, 
has given to this document most of its interest. The pre- 
amble has been dwelt on at greater length and with much 
greater enthusiasm than have the provisions of the constitu- 
tion concerning government. It has been made to signify 
much more than the Mayflower compact, and its adoption 
has been regarded as the initial act in the development of 
American democracy. But really there is nothing in the 
preamble, or in the body of the Fundamental Orders, to 
indicate that, if the settlers of Connecticut had possessed a 
royal charter, they would have proceeded in a manner essen- 
tially different from that of the colonists of Massachusetts. 

For Massachusetts the outline of a system of government, 
such as it became after the removal of the corporation, was 
given in its charter. Magistrates and a general court were 
in existence when the colony was founded. All that was 
needed there was that, through these organs and under the 
initiation of the executive, the work of government should 
be begun. Specific forms and details of government were 
assumed, but the right to establish government had not to 
be assumed. The Connecticut colonists, however, in the 
absence of legal authority, after the close of the year, during 
which the commissioners appointed by Massachusetts had 
administered their affairs, practically set up for themselves. 
The decisive step was taken at that time, although, owing 
probably to the pressure of the Pequot war, the formal 
declaration of the fact was postponed till the colony had 
justified its claim to separate existence by triumph in that 
conflict. Imitating the example of the churches, a planta- 
tion covenant was prefixed to the solemn announcement 
which they then made of the outline of their system of 
government. Wishing to recognize no outside authority, 
they declared that they associated themselves together as a 


commonwealth — that they entered into combination among CHAP, 
themselves and with those who should later join them, and ' 

on behalf of their posterity, to maintain both civil and ec- 
clesiastical government. But this was practically what had 
been done by the Pilgrims in the Mayflower; it was pre- 
cisely what was being done in several of the Narragansett 
settlements ; it was what New Haven did with almost painful 
elaboration about five months later. As the River Towns, 
about two years before, had tacitly assumed the powers of 
government which they now declared that they were assum- 
ing, and as the Fundamental Orders probably did not essen- 
tially change the system of government that already existed 
on the Connecticut, one must infer that the course of history 
would not have been much different from what it has been, 
had the preamble of that document never been issued. Dec- 
larations and covenants could not change the fact of the 
case, — that Connecticut, while assuming the right to exer- 
cise authority, derived her governmental system by imitation 
from Massachusetts and through that colony from the trading 
companies of England. The line of descent is clear and 
unmistakable, while the process of inheritance was free and 

From the adoption of the Fundamental Orders to the issue 
of the royal charter, the development of the colony of the 
River Towns was steady and normal. According to the pro- 
vision of the constitution (Art. 10), the general court alone 
admitted freemen. The qualifications required were admis- 
sion as inhabitants by some town and the taking of the oath 
of fidelity. This oath, like that of Massachusetts, contained 
an acknowledgment of submission to the government of 
Connecticut, and a promise not to plot or share in any plot 
against it, but promptly to reveal such schemes; to main- 
tain the honor of the jurisdiction, and to vote conscientiously 
for its best interests.^ In 1643 the general court reafiGirmed 
the provision of the Fundamental Orders, that only those 
should be regarded as inhabitants of a town who had been 
admitted as such by a majority of its voters.* In 1646 it 
was enacted that none who had been fined or whipped for 

1 Conn. RecB. L 62. « Ibid. 96. 


PART any scandalous offence should be admitted to vote in town 
^' or commonwealth, or to serve on a jury till the general 
court should specially permit it.^ The same court also en- 
acted that the magistrates should administer the oath of 
fidelity to all males above sixteen years of age. When, in 
1656, Quakers began to appear, it was ordered that those 
who desired admission as freemen by the general court 
should bring a certificate of peaceable and honest conver- 
sation signed by all or a majority of the deputies from 
their respective towns.* In 1662 candidates were required 
to bring a certificate to the above effect signed by a majority 
of the selectmen, instead of the deputies, of their town.^ 
In 1659 a property qualification was introduced — the pos- 
session of a personal estate of X30.^ Three years later the 
possession of real estate to the amount of X20 was required. 
When in 1665 the royal commissioners presented the re- 
quirement of the king, ^Hhat all men of competent estates 
and of civil conversation, though of different judgments, be 
admitted to be freemen," the general court replied that its 
*^ order for admission of freemen is consonant with that 

Still, there was a stringent moral requirement, which, 
when taken in connection with the character of the select- 
men and of the members of the general court who enforced 
it, and with the care which they exercised over both churches 
and individuals, appears to have been semi-religious in its 
nature.^ The ecclesiastical history of Connecticut shows 
that the body of freemen, from which the general court was 
elected, consisted of church members and of those who were 
in close sympathy with them. The regularity with which a 

1 Conn. Recs. L 188, 130. The magistrates were permitted temporarily 
to readmit those who had been punished as specified in this act to the privi- 
leges of freemen on their presenting a certificate of good behavior. 

« Ibid. 290. 

« Ibid. 380. 

* Ibid. 331, 889 ; II. 263. 

* Ibid. I. 439. 

* Trumbull, History of Connecticut, I. 287 et seq, ; Conn. Recs. I. 520, 
623, etc. True and suggestive statements on these and other related subjects 
will be found in a paper by Henry Bronson on the '* Early Government of 
Connecticut,** Papers of New Haven Hist Soc. IIL 


comparatively small number of men were reelected to office CHAP. 
— making the tenure of the magistrates, though they held ^^^ 
elective offices, very permanent — is an indication of the 
same thing. It is a phenomenon which appears in Massachu- 
setts as well, and helps to reveal the fact that the political 
conditions in those colonies were much the same. 

The influence of the civil power over the churches in Con- 
necticut was scarcely less than it was in Massachusetts. 
The code of 1650^ contained a provision giving the civil 
government authority " to see the force, ordinances and rules 
of Christe bee observed in every church according to his 

The power of interference thus asserted was almost un- 
limited, and it was used on many occasions and in many 
ways. The records show that the court interfered in con- 
flicts within the churches over the settlement of ministers, 
over the authority of pastors to rule and overrule the 
brotherhood, over the right of admission to sacramental 
privileges. Councils were repeatedly called at its instance 
in the effort to settle these questions. The court on one 
occasion proposed to review a case of excommunication. It 
issued orders concerning the maintenance of ministers. The 
principles of the Cambridge Platform of Discipline were as 
fully accepted and enforced in Connecticut as they were in 
Massachusetts. The attitude of the Connecticut ministers 
toward Antinomianism and Quakerism was the same as that 
assumed by the clergy of Massachusetts.^ 

In the history of Connecticut, however, we have no clear 
evidence that the clergy and magistrates conferred so often 
or so fully over questions of policy as they did in Mas- 
sachusetts. None of the clergy, save Hooker, undertook to 
expound principles of government, or especially to guide the 

1 Conn. Col. Recs. I. 624. 

* Ibid. 1. 106, 111, 856, 387, 412, 420, and the many references to the con- 
troversies in the churches of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor. Leonard 
Bacon, The Relations of the Congregational Churches of Connecticut to Civil 
Government, Centennial Papers of the General Conference of Connecticut, 
1877, 160 et seq, ; Walker, History of the First Church in Hartford, 161 et seq. ; 
Colls. Conn. Hist. Soc. 11, 63 et seq,; Stiles, Ancient Windsor, ed. of 1850, 
166 et seq» ; Trumbull, History of Connecticut, L Chap. 8. 


PART policy of the commonwealth. The clergy as a body was not 
^ J called upon to explain the nature of the colony government. 
In other words, the caucus system was more fully developed 
in Massachusetts than in Connecticut. This was due to the 
fact that the conflicts with heresy were fought chiefly in the 
Bay colony, and upon these the magistrates and the great 
body of the clergy were a unit. The controversies of 
Connecticut were either confined to local congregations, or 
related to questions of less vital moment, upon which abso- 
lute unity of action was not necessary. They also arose 
later, after the fervor of Puritan zeal had somewhat abated, 
and when aggressive action was scarcely possible. The 
view which prevailed in the general court upon the chief 
question, that of the so-called halfway covenant, was decid- 
edly moderate, an opinion such as laymen who were to an 
extent free from clerical influence would naturally adopt. 
The fact that the great body of the clergy was slow to accept 
these opinions, and that the court was unable, through coun- 
cils or by other methods, to procure their general adoption, 
checked in a measure the influence of the government and 
its Presbyterianizing tendencies. But these are events which 
belong more to the second than to the first generation of 
New England Puritanism. 

As we have seen, the development of the general court in 
Connecticut began at the point which it had reached in 
Massachusetts when the removal took place. For two years 
previous to that event deputies, or representatives of the 
towns, had sat in the general court of Massachusetts and no 
legislature met on the banks of the Connecticut without 
their presence. But deputies and magistrates continued to 
meet in one house until 1698,^ a period of more than forty 
years after Massachusetts had possessed a legislature of two 
houses. After the issue of the Fundamental Orders little 
' legislation appears concerning the organization or powers of 
the general court, and there was slight need of it. Prior to 
1662 only a few minute changes in detail were made — such 
as the provision that a moderator should be chosen to pre- 
side in the absence of the governor and deputy governor,* 

1 Recs. IV. 267. « Ibid, L 266, 348, 366, etc. 


and that in the absence of the same officials a majority of CHAP. 


the magistrates might call a session of the court. ^ 

The business of the general court was very extensive. 
Besides its two regular sessions, many extra sessions were 
held. In 1645 it met seven times ; in 1658 it met twice in 
March and once in May, in August and in October ; in many 
other years it met as often as in these. As in the other cor- 
porate colonies, its work was legislative, administrative, and 
judicial ; while the character and volume of its product in 
each of these lines were not materially different from that 
which appears elsewhere in New England. Its most impor- 
tant legislation — a subject which will receive further, illus- 
tration in later chapters — had reference to towns, military 
affairs, moral and ecclesiastical relations, the levy of rates, 
Indian relations, crimes and their penalties.^ Not only did 
the general court legislate comprehensively,, as in October, 
1639, for the establishment and regulation of towns,^ but 
by special orders it provided for the enforcement of this 
legislation, and controlled the action of towns in many 
ways. As a result of these acts and of a series of land 
grants, a town system similar to that of Massachusetts 
and Plymouth was developed; and by means of this 
system the territory of the colony was extended eastward 
to include the Pequot country, southward to the mouth 
of the river, and westward till it was met by the counter 
claims of the Dutch. By legislation beginning in 1637 a 
militia system — with trainings and the assize of arms, foot- 
soldiers, and troopers — was created, while the lower officers 
who were elected by the towns were confirmed by the gen- 
eral court. In the domain of finance, the elective office of 
treasurer was strictly regulated ; the accounts were yearly 
audited by a committee of the general court ; lists of taxables 
and taxable property were annually returned to the general 
court by the towns ; and these lists served as a statistical 
basis on which to levy the country rate. The regular judi- 
cial business of the colony was transacted in the particular 
court or court of magistrates. Occasionally an appeal from 

1 Recs. IV. 256. * See Records and Code of 1660, Recs. I. 509. 

« Recs. I. 36. 


PART this tribunal was heard by the general court. The general 
J court also granted divorces and sometimes probated wills. 
It held no state trials like those instituted by Massachusetts 
against the parties who attacked her ecclesiastical system. 
Though in both these colonies the judicial functions of the 
general court were supplementary, the volume of business of 
that nature done by the court of Massachusetts seems to have 
been the greater. 

The name " orders," which was often applied to the acts 
of the general court, describes the major part of them more 
accurately than the word " laws." They were administrative 
ordinances, occasioned by reports and petitions and adapted 
to individual cases and particular events, rather than laws 
intended to furnish permanent and general rules of action. 
The issue of such orders constituted a large part of the busi- 
ness of each session, and the orders issued dealt with a great 
variety of subjects. Not only, for example, did the general 
court legislate concerning the Indians, but it issued orders 
for the settlement of disputes among them, and between them 
and the English. It concluded treaties with the Indians, 
prosecuted and punished them for crime, corresponded with 
the neighboring colonies about them, and executed the orders 
of the Commissioners of the United Colonies in reference to 
them. The court acted in the same way in regard to the 
relations with the Dutch. By similar orders it provided for 
the enforcement of its legislation concerning the internal 
affairs of the colony and controlled the action of towns and 
officials who were intrusted with the execution of its laws. 
Through its power of choosing, commissioning, instructing, 
removing, or otherwise disciplining officials, the general 
court exercised continuous administrative influence, not only 
over towns, but over all the business of the colony. The 
court also regularly appointed committees to execute its 
orders. These might consist exclusively, or only partially, 
of members of the court. In most, if not all, cases the gov- 
ernor and some of the assistants were placed upon such com- 
mittees; and deputies or others who were associated with 
them were selected because they lived in the locality where 
the business must be done, or because of their special knowl- 


edge of the case. When correspondence or negotiations were CHAP, 
to be carried on, the governor and the magistrates were ^ ^^ 
almost necessarily employed. The similarity between this 
and methods of government in the other corporate colonies 
is already apparent. 

The employment of committees, not only for legislative 
but for distinctly executive purposes as well, is a promi- 
nent feature in the early practice of the legislatures of both 
Massachusetts and Connecticut. When compared with the 
contemporary practice of parliament or of any other Euro- 
pean legislature, it must appear as an important innovation. 
It has already been explained as a continuation of the custom 
of the trading companies of England, which frequently made 
use of committees in the transaction of their business. The 
executive of the corporate colony, moreover, was elective in 
origin and multiple in form : it was an executive board — an 
annual committee, so to speak — of the freemen for certain 
important purposes of government; and the bodies which 
the general court created for more specific purposes were not 
dissimilar. So complete was the control of the general court 
over the business of the corporate colony, that it was easy for 
it not only to supplement but to assume the work of the 
executive — a thing which, as the legislature of the province, 
and of the kingdom in fact, was organized, the representative 
branch could not always do without a struggle. In the cor- 
porate colony, the executive was organically the agent of the 
general court, and when the two were harmonious was actually 
used as such ; while in the province, the executive was the 
rival and the competitor of the lower house. 

The colony of the River Towns, having been founded with- 
out a royal charter, attained its ultimate limits by expansion 
and by the absorption of two smaller colonies, neither of 
which existed by virtue of rights superior to its own. The 
first colony to be absorbed was that founded at Saybrook. 
The right of those who held the so-called Warwick patent ^ 
to establish a settlement west of Narragansett bay can cer- 
tainly not be affirmed. No grant to the Earl of Warwick 

1 Trumbull, History of Connecticat, I. 27, 435 ; Johnston, Connecticut, 
8 et stq. ; Conn. Recs. I. 668. 


PART appears among the extant records of the New England conn- 
oil. To be sure, those records are not complete ; but such a 
grant was not brought to light in the seventeenth century, 
though the Connecticut authorities were especially anxious 
to establish claims to the territory in question.^ Moreover, 
in the extant patent of 1631 Warwick does not positively 
assert title to land west of Narragansett bay, but simply 
conveys such claims as he has. If it be compared with the 
deeds of lease and release, by the grant of which the Duke 
of York made Berkeley and Carteret proprietors of New 
Jersey, the difference in the wording and implication will be 
clear. Still, the patentees acted under the grant as if it were 
genuine, and the conduct both of Massachusetts and of those 
who settled the River Towns in 1636 implies the same belief. 
This document is one of the indications that we do not yet 
fully understand the relations which existed between the 
Earl of Warwick and the New England council, on the one 
hand, and the Puritans who were interested in New England 
colonization, on the other. 

Not until June, 1635, two months after the New England 
council resigned its charter, did the Warwick patentees at- 
tempt to take possession of any part of the g^ant which they 
claimed. Then John Winthrop, Jr., was appointed by them 
governor for one year "of the river Connecticut with the 
places adjoining thereunto," and was instructed to build a 
fort and begin a settlement near the mouth of the river.' 
These commands were executed by Winthrop, with the aid 
of Lyon Gardiner, and thus a small proprietary colony was 
established. In 1639 George Fenwick, one of the patentees, 
settled there with his family, and the place was named Say- 
brook. A church was built ; and possession was taken of a 
tract of land lying on both sides of the river and extending 
back about eight miles from its mouth. The River Towns 
soon drew Fenwick into the closest possible relations with 
themselves, by securing his appointment as one of the com- 
missioners of the United Colonies and by contributing toward 

^ See the reply of Connecticut to New Haven^g Case Stated, New Haven 
Col. Recs. II. 538. 
2 Trumbull, I. 497. 


the maintenance of the fort at Saybrook.^ By this means CHAP, 
they secured his aid in thwarting the plans of Massachusetts ^ 
to obtain a part of the Pequot country, while they opened 
the way for the purchase of Fenwick's plantation. This 
they effected in December, 1644, Fenwick conveying the 
fort and the lands over which he had jurisdiction, and prom- 
ising that, if the territory lying between the Connecticut 
and Narragansett bay and mentioned in the Warwick patent 
came into his power, it should be transferred to Connecticut. 
Fenwick was permitted to live at Saybrook for ten years 
and to make use of certain buildings and land there. It 
was finally agreed to pay him £180 annually during that 
period, the payment to be made in good wheat, pease, rye, 
or barley at fixed rates. The duty on the beaver trade 
and the dues from Springfield, to which Fenwick was en- 
titled, were also^ continued. Fenwick soon returned to 
England, where he died in 1659. As he left unfulfilled his 
promise to secure for Connecticut jurisdiction over the terri- 
tory mentioned in the Warwick patent, the colony tried to 
recover from his agent and heirs a portion of the money 
which had been paid. In 1660 it accepted a repayment of 
£500 in lieu of all demands, and the dispute was closed.* 
It thus appears that, prior to the grant of the royal charter, 
Connecticut had not secured a valid title to the soil which 
she had occupied, but she was in possession of the mouth 
of the river and of a goodly stretch of shore along the 

The jurisdiction of New Haven — the second colony to be 
absorbed by that of the River Towns — was settled by Puri- 
tans of the strictest type, whose leaders, Eaton and Daven- 
port, had been closely identified with the Massachusetts 
enterprise in the early stage of its development. Their 
motives and ideals were practically the same as those of 
Winthrop and Cotton. Their migration, nevertheless, had 
no ofl&cial or corporate connection with that which resulted 
in the settlement of Massachusetts : it pursued an indepen- 

1 Conn. Recs. I. 113 et seq.., 170. 

« Ibid. I. 208, 271, 668. 

* IMd, I. 576 and references. 

VOL. 1 — T 


PART dent course from its origin in England to its successful 
V • J accomplishment on the shores of Long Island sound. The 
leaders of the enterprise, with a part of the settlers, landed 
at Boston, where they remained for a few months ; but they 
were not, and never intended to be, more than sojourners 
there, while they were looking for a permanent abiding-place. 
Though there was a certain commercial element in the en- 
terprise, no relations continued with partners left behind in 
England which to any extent modified the development of 
this colony. It was even freer from influences of that 
nature than Massachusetts had*been. Not only was New 
Haven from the outset independent of other colonies, but 
it assumed and enjoyed to an equal degree independence 
toward the mother country. 

The process by which the inhabitants of New Haven 
assumed governmental powers has been too often described 
to call for elaborate treatment here. The date and text of 
their first plantation covenant have, indeed, been lost ; but 
this loss is more than made good by the details which have 
been preserved concerning the doings of the " general meet- 
inge " that was held in Newman's barn, June 4, 1639. This 
meeting took the decisive steps which led to the establish- 
ment of government in the plantation. The outcome was 
not essentially different from that which had been reached 
at Hartford the previous January, and elsewhere on other 
dates, some earlier, some later. But Puritanism of the 
doctrinaire type found more complete expression here than 
at any other time or place. All inherited political connec- 
tions were tacitly renounced; and by solemn and express 
agreement a new political body was formed, which was to 
consist only of the elect — of church members whose lives suc- 
cessfully bore the test of the most rigid scrutiny. After this 
condition of citizenship had been adopted as the cornerstone of 
the political edifice, the church was founded. The germ of 
this body was the famous " seven pillars," ^ or seven leading 
men of the settlement, selected by cooptation from a larger 
body of twelve which had been chosen by the "general 

^ ** Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.'* 
Prov. ix. 1. 


meetinge." The " seven pillars " presumably added ^ to their CHAP. 


own number those who were to be the original members of . 
the church, and this body chose its pastor and other officials. 
The " seven," though not technically, were at the same time 
really, the only magistrates in the little settlement, and con- 
tinued to be such till October 25, 1639. A freeman's oath 
with the customary provisions was drawn, and more than 
one hundred freemen signed the " foundamentall agreement 
. . . thatt church members onely shall be free burgesses."^ 
This was apparently done, at least in part, while the " seven" 
held sway both in church and commonwealth. 

On October 25, in the first public court of which there is 
record, the " seven " resigned such power or trust as they 
had received, and all who had been received into the 
fellowship of the church were admitted as members of the 
court.^ Six who were members of other approved churches 
were also admitted to citizenship. After the freeman's 
oath had been administered, at least to some, and Daven- 
port had preached from Hooker's text combined with 
Ex. xviii. 21, they chose a magistrate and four deputies 
or assistants, besides a secretary and a marshal or constable. 
It was also agreed that the term of office for all magistrates 
should be one year, and that the general court should meet 
in annual session the last week in October. Finally, with 
supreme self-confidence, they sought by a single resolution, 
not only to exclude English statute and common law from 
their settlement, but to forestall the necessity of important 
legislation on their own part. They resolved "thatt the 
worde of God shall be the onely rule to be attended unto 
in ordering the affayres of government in this plantation." 

Like Plymouth, New Haven, as thus founded, was town 
and colony combined. In 1638 the land upon which the 
town was settled, together with a tract within which exist 
ten modem townships, was bought from the Indians. 
Outside this lay the territory upon which Guilford and 

^ As Tnimball, I. 286, expresses it, the church was ** gathered to the seven 
pillars/* The churches at Milford and Guilford were formed in the same 
way. Authority for these acts was also found in Prov. ix. 1. 

s New Haven Recs. I. 17, 10. • Ibid. IM), 21. 


PART Milford were founded. In 1640 land to the west of Fair- 
field was bought and the plantations of Stamford and 
Greenwich were settled, though the latter did not finally 
acknowledge itself a part of New Haven colony till 1656.^ 
In 1640, also, the purchase which became Southold on 
Long Island was made. In 1642 constables were chosen at 
the New Haven court for Stamford and Southold.^ Milford 
and Guilford were settled by families which, though they 
shared in the common migration, were never more than 
sojourners at New Haven. The settlements which they 
made were at the outset politically independent.' Stam- 
ford and Branford were also settled largely by seceders from 
the church and town of Wethersfield. Hence it appears 
that the degree of political and territorial unity which 
existed in Plymouth did not obtain at the outset in the 
colony of New Haven. The plantations and towns in the 
latter colony were not in all cases founded by the parent 
settlement, and thus were not under its administrative con- 
trol. If, then, from these plantations one colony was to 
emerge, and at the same time New Haven colony was to 
become distinct from New Haven town, the change could 
be effected only by a process of union or federation. This 
event occurred in 1648 and was brought about mainly by 
the formation of the New England Confederacy, and the 
necessity arising therefrom that New Haven should appear 
in it as a unit comprising all the settlements which were 
closely related to it.* 

On July 6, 1643, Eaton and Gregson, who as delegates of 
the town of New Haven and the plantations immediately 
dependent upon it — " the jurisdiction," as it was beginning 
to call itself — had met the commissioners from the other 
colonies, reported the articles which they had agreed upon 
as the constitution of the league. These were approved, 
July 6, by " a general court held att New Haven for the 
plantations within this jurisdiction." It was ordered that 
all males in every plantation who were between the ages of 

1 Atwater, History of New Haven Colony, 413. « Records, I. 70, 78. 
* Smith, History of Guilford ; Lambert, History of New Haven Colony, 
86 et 8eq. ; Atwater, 156 et seq. ^ Recs. I. 96 et aeq. 


sixteen and sixty should be numbered and armed, and that CHAP. 
their arms and trained bands should be viewed. A tax was ,. 
also imposed on the plantations to meet the expenses of 
" the combination," and it was ordered that the rules as to 
rating which had been in force at New Haven should be 
applied throughout the colony. It is important to note 
that at this court two members were admitted from Guil- 
ford. With their cooperation, then, these steps were taken 
preparatory to the organization of a colony government of 
the corporate type. 

That organization was not completed till the following 
October. It was effected by transforming the outlying 
plantations of the jurisdiction, including Milford as well as 
Guilford, into towns with rights fully equal to the town of 
New Haven, it being expressly provided that New Haven 
should be the seat of government. A compromise was 
reached with Milford — which had admitted to the rights 
of freemen six inhabitants who were not church members — 
to the effect that no more such extensions of the franchise 
should be permitted, and that the six should perform no 
functions, outside of town affairs, except that of voting for 
deputies to the general court. Thus it was hoped that 
there would be no more violations of the ^^foundamentall 
order" concerning the suffrage. It was reaffirmed and 
placed at the head of the series of enactments which were 
passed by the October court of 1643, providing for the 
establishment of the new colony government. By this the 
continued existence of the town courts, with their magis- 
trates, was guarantied. Provision was made for a " court 
of magistrates," to meet biennially at New Haven, with the 
powers of a tribunal of appeal and higher jurisdiction for 
the colony ; and for a general court, consisting of the gov- 
ernor, deputy governor, and all the magistrates of the col- 
ony, together with two deputies from each town, all sitting 
together as one house. Provision was also made for two 
annual sessions, one of which, in October, should be the 
court of election. Upon this body the usual legislative 
powers, the right to administer oaths, and the functions of 
a highest court of appeal were bestowed. 


If the document which contains these provisions be criti- 
cally examined, and compared with the enactments which 
had preceded it in the other colonies, it will be found to 
come no nearer to the modern idea of a written constitution 
than do they. It was simply an important statute, passed 
by the general court and capable in all parts of amendment 
or repeal by the power which created it. The religious test, 
though regarded as fundamental, might have been modified 
or repealed by the same process of legislation as was used or 
recommended in Massachusetts. In the formation of New 
Haven colony, also, the federal element appears with greater 
prominence than in the case of Connecticut ; but it was the 
result of a union of parts whose origin was similar, whose 
influence was very unequal, and the period of whose separate 
existence had been very brief. 

As a colony, New Haven enjoyed an uneventful existence 
for twenty years. About 1658, when the settlements along 
the Connecticut were alarmed by rumors of attack by the 
Dutch and Indians, and those which lay furthest west 
thought themselves in imminent peril, agitation against the 
religious test was raised in Stamford and Southold.^ Com- 
plaints were also uttered that the colony did not adequately 
provide for the security of its outlying settlements, and some 
were bold enough to challenge the legality of the control 
which it exercised over them. But the movement never 
assumed serious proportions, and subsided with the disap- 
pearance of danger. Nothing else of political importance 
occurred to disturb the quiet of the colony. Its institutions 
underwent slight development, though even under its peace- 
ful conditions it was at once found necessary to forsake the 
Bible as a law book and to legislate much as other colonists 
did. They even went so far as to bring their most impor- 
tant enactments together into a code, as did Massachusetts 
and Connecticut. Its provisions, like the orders of court, 
conform to the ordinary New England type. 

The Restoration found New Haven independent ; but it 
also found the colony of the River Towns in possession of 
the settlements along the river and thence eastward to the 

1 Recs. n. 48 e( «eg. 


Narragansett country, together with 'Fairfield. The latter CHAP, 
plantation was so situated as to prevent the New Haven 
colony from attaining territorial unity. The Restoration 
also made the absence of legal guaranties of existence among 
the colonies of southern New England painfully apparent, t 
Now that the king had returned, it behooved them all to 
look to their title deeds, for the inquiries which Charles I 
had been forced to abandon were likely to be resumed by 
his son. The controversy which Connecticut had with the 
Dutch over her western bounds, and that with Massachusetts 
and the Narragansett plantations over those on the east, 
early led her to take action toward procuring a royal charter. 
Though her 'address to the king was not prepared till the 
spring of 1661, a year before that the clause in the Funda- 
mental Orders prohibiting the election of the same person as 
governor oftener than once in two years was repealed. This 
made it possible to reelect John Winthrop for that year and 
a number of succeeding years. In 1661 he was also made 
agent to England, for the purpose of presenting the address 
and procuring a charter. To that effect he was instructed, 
and £500 were set aside for his use.^ He was told to pro- 
cure, if possible, a copy of the Warwick patent, or, if that 
could not be done, to obtain a confirmation of it from the 
heirs of the patentees, and to recover what had been paid 
to Fen wick for the "jurisdiction right." In case a royal 
charter should be granted, Winthrop was instructed to see 
that it conformed as nearly as possible to the Massachusetts 
patent. It was desired that the grant be made to several 
patentees with their associates, with such as might be joined 
with them, and their successors forever ; and that the free- 
men, or associates, should have the exclusive right to choose 
officers for conducting the affairs of the colony. Eighteen 
were designated as the number who, it was desired, should 
be named in the patent. 

Winthrop's success equalled, if it did not surpass, the 
most sanguine expectations. He procured a royal charter, 
dated April 23, 1662, which was more favorable to the 
grantees than was the Massachusetts patent. It created the 

1 Conn. Recs. I. 346, 347, 361, 868, 360, 670, 582. 


PART persons whose names* — with a few exceptions — were in 
J Winthrop's petition, together with their associates, a cor- 
poration on the place, under the name of the Governor and 
Company of Connecticut in New England in America. The 
#U8ual corporate powers were expressly bestowed. The gov- 
ernment actually existing, with the institutions which had 
grown up in the colony during the past twenty years, was 
recognized and guarantied. It was provided that there 
should be one governor, one deputy governor, and twelve 
assistants, — naming for the first year the patentees as in- 
cumbents of these offices, — to hold for an annual term, the 
elections of successors to be held at the May court of elec- 
tion. Provision was made for two annual meetings of the 
general court, or court of the corporation, which should con- 
sist of the governor, deputy governor, at least six of the 
assistants, and not exceeding two deputies from each town. 
The usual powers — those which it had been in the habit of 
exercising — were bestowed on the general court, and all 
that should be necessary to validate its acts was their issue 
under the seal of the colony. The king expressly reserved 
no control whatever over legislation or over the administra- 
tion of justice within the colony. 

The extreme liberality of these provisions shows that the 
charter which was granted must have been substantially the 
same as Winthrop's draft. As by it a corporation was 
created on the place, it was not necessary to refer in it to 
the administration of subordinate government in the colony. 
The provisions that were made for the government of the cor- 
poration itself were provisions also for the government of the 
colony, for the two were identical. This charter, then, was 
more perfectly adapted to the needs of Connecticut than was 
the charter of Massachusetts to the form and necessities of 
that colony. It was such a patent as the founders of 
Massachusetts would have welcomed, could they have frankly 
avowed their plans before they left England. The moderate 
religious policy of Connecticut, and the fact that no com- 
plaints against that colony were laid before the home gov- 
ernment, now stood it in good stead. Massachusetts could 
scarcely have hoped to be able to exchange her charter for 
one Jike that of Connecticut. 


The bounds of Connecticut were now unexpectedly ex- CHAP, 
tended through to the South Sea. New Haven was thus 
included within that colony; as she also would have been 
if the validity of the claims of Connecticut under the War- 
wick patent could have been established. This result was 
especially gratifying to the River Towns, in the minds of 
whose inhabitants the desire for territorial expansion was 
then especially strong. Also, in the controversy which was 
then agitating the New England churches, Connecticut 
favored the so-called halfway covenant, while New Haven 
adhered to the rigid practice of the first generation of Puri- 
tans. The strict adherence of New Haven to the religious 
test and her extreme independence would have operated 
strongly against her, had she attempted to secure ^aranties 
in England for continued existence. These causes con- 
tributed to increase the difficulties which attended the efforts 
made by New Haven to save herself from annexation. 

Before Winthrop left for England, Davenport secured 
from him a statement that the magistrates of Connecticut 
had agreed not to coerce their sister colony into a union.^ 
Later, after the charter had been granted, he wrote from 
London that he had at the time assured the friends of New 
Haven that there was no intention of doing injury to her 
rights or interests, or of meddling with any town or planta- 
tion which was settled under her government;^ and, had 
any other intention been declared, it would have increased 
the difficulty of procuring the charter without inserting in 
it a proportional number of New Haven names. Her mem- 
bership in the New England Confederacy also gave New 
Haven a status among her sister colonies, though not in 
England ; and her absorption by Connecticut would remove 
much of the little vitality which remained in the Union 
after the Restoration. When, therefore, in 1663, the dele- 
gates from New Haven appealed to the Commissioners of the 
United Colonies, they declared that the jurisdiction of that 
colony could not be violently invaded without a breach of 
the articles ; and that, if any power had been exercised there 
without the authority of the colony, it should be recalled 
1 New Haven Recs. II. 621. > Ibid, 623. 


until the conditions were favorable to an orderly settlement.^ 
But both the history of the Confederacy and its ultimate 
course in this case showed that, when the crisis should come, 
New Haven must be prepared to face her rival alone/^ Pious 
wishes were all that the commissioners from Massachusetts 
and Plymouth could contribute for her support. 

In this affair the general court and magistrates of Con- 
necticut clearly exhibited the spirit of the bully, — the 
same spirit which at that time they and the other New- 
Englanders were showing toward their weaker neighbors, 
the Dutch. Of course their words and conduct were all in 
the interests of civilization, but they found expression in the 
imperative mood. Connecticut, prior to April, 1662, stood 
as naked dnd defenceless before the crown as did New Haven. 
Her charter she had secured without consulting the sister 
colony, whose political annihilation was involved in the issue 
of the document. As soon as the charter arrived at Hart- 
ford, still without consulting New Haven, she received the 
submission of the town of Southold and of the discontented 
faction in Stamford, Greenwich, and Guilford. Constables 
were appointed to act for Connecticut in Stamford and Guil- 
ford.^ Then a committee was appointed to treat with New 
Haven. Connecticut, that is, first gave recognition and 
support to those in the colony of New Haven who, because 
of the religious test, or for any other reason, were discon- 
tented and ready to cooperate in its overthrow. After that 
had been done, and a long step had thus been taken toward 
the desired issue, resort was had to negotiation. The result 
was that bitter feelings were aroused, a riot at Guilford was 
encouraged, and the negotiations were disturbed and hin- 
dered by recriminations. The mild and peaceful methods 
which Winthrop recommended from England, after the first 
step had been taken, could not be tried. In the defence of 
her conduct Connecticut relied chiefly on the mere fact that 
she possessed a charter ; ^ and, considering the source whence 
they came, she made some most remarkable admissions con- 
cerning kings and the extent of royal authority. 

1 Plymouth Recs. X. 310. * Ibid. 318. > Conn. Recs. I. 888-300. 
« Conn. Recs. I. 422 ; New Haven Recs. II. 635. 


How long the controversy might have continued no one CHAP, 
can tell. But early in 1664 came the news of approaching ^ ^^ ^ 
events which suddenly brought it to a close. New Nether- 
land, with the Connecticut river as its eastern boundary, 
was to be granted to the Duke of York and Dutch rule over- 
thrown. At the same time a royal commission was about to 
visit New England for the purpose of settling disputes and 
taking steps which would lead to the proper recognition of 
royal supremacy. To New Haven absorption by Connecti- 
cut was vastly preferable to submission to the Duke of York, 
with his unlimited proprietary power, and his province filled 
with an alien population. The necessity, also, that the Puri- 
tan colonies of New England should bury their differences 
and present a united front before the royal commissioners 
was instantly recognized. These considerations overcame 
at New Haven the irritation which had been provoked by 
the arbitrary conduct of Connecticut, and the weaker colony 
bowed gracefully to the inevitable. By legal steps, which 
it is not necessary here to particularize, her inhabitants 
were admitted to a full share in the benefits of the new 
charter and of government under it, while the annexation 
of her territory rounded off the Connecticut colony on the 
southwest, and completed the process of her expansion. 
The religious test in its original and precise form disap- 
peared, and thus a serious occasion of controversy with Eng- 
land and a barrier to progress within Puritan society were 
removed. Davenport, who had led in its establishment and 
had always been its chief defender, removed to Boston, where 
in his declining years he might still enjoy the stricter Puri- 
tanism of the founders. The enlarged Connecticut, with a 
charter and a government which were suited to the genius 
of her people, continued on her peaceful way ; and, largely 
because of the close adaptation of government to society, 
earned for herself the name of the " land of steady habits." 
From the outset she had been a little more modem and pro- 
gressive than Massachusetts and slightly more democratic ; 
and these qualities she continued to display throughout the 
colonial period. 



Unlike Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, the 
colony of Rhode Island was formed by the union of plan- 
tations ; the town was distinctly the root whence the col- 
ony sprang. Between the spring of 1636 and that of 
1639, the three germinal settlements were founded. These 
were Providence, at the head of Narragansett bay, Ports- 
mouth, — earlier Pocasset, — and Newport on the island of 
Aquedneck, or Rhode Island. Later the town of War- 
wick, on the west side of Narragansett bay, was added. 
These towns existed for a time independent of each other 
and of all external control. In 1647, under the authority 
of a charter obtained from the revolutionary government in 
England, they combined into a colony. In order to under- 
stand the union thus formed, the organization and relations 
of the towns that formed it must first be briefly reviewed. 

Roger Williams, when banished from Massachusetts, had 
no intention of founding a commonwealth, probably not a 
distinct plan of founding a town. In 1677 he wrote,^ " It is 
not true that I was imployed by any, made covenant with 
any, was supplied by any, or desired any to come with me 
into these parts." His first thought seems to have been, 
that he would " do the natives good," but as events proved 
his work among them was to be that of an interpreter and 
mediator rather than that of a religious teacher like Eliot. 
Williams adds that, at their own request, he permitted a few 
individuals from Salem and elsewhere, who had fallen into 
disfavor in Massachusetts, to follow him. The fact that he 
was to have English companionship strengthened in Will- 

1 R. L Tracts, No. 14, p. 63. 


iams's mind the idea of religious freedom which was to give CHAP. 


form to all his future plans. The sentiments from which 
it sprang had previously dominated his action. The idea 
itself had lain in his mind and had found expression, though 
not in specially clear or definite form. Henceforth its real- 
ization in institutions and its proclamation to the world 
were to be the chief work of his life. 

The colony which Williams had a share in founding was 
destined, as he desired, to be a refuge for those who were 
oppressed for conscience sake. It exemplified more per- 
fectly than any commonwealth that had existed, or that was 
to exist for more than a century, the idea of which Williams 
became a leading exponent. Within it the religious tests, 
the political activity of the clergy, the disciplining of indi- 
viduals and churches, which fill so large a place in the 
history of the strictly Puritan colonies, found no place. 
Williams himself on two occasions rendered valuable service 
to the colony in England. Its peaceful relations with the 
Indians were due in large measure to the peculiar influence 
which he had among the savages. By his correspondence 
with Winthrop and others he labored to conciliate, while he 
maintained his own position and that of the colony of which 
he was a very prominent citizen. He shared largely in the 
founding of one of the Narragansett towns, and occasionally 
he held high office in the colony. 

But Roger Williams had not the ambition or the organiz-^ 
ing power which lead to the establishment of institutions on 
a firm basis^ He was in no sense, like Winthrop, a judge or 
an administrator. He cared nothing for the details of execu- 
tive work. He had not the patience or caution of the diplo- 
matist. He was a persistent, somewhat irritable, but on the 
whole a genial and highly endowed individualist. It is 
possible to imagine him living such a life as did Blackstone, 
though with greater activity among the Indians. ^ 

Though Williams and the elder Winthrop were lifelong 
friends, they were men of very different types, and the shares 
which they had in the founding of the colonies with which 
their names are identified were as unlike as were the men 
themselves. In fact the beginnings of Rhode Island were 


PART not the result of conscious planning, as was the case with 
Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the colonies in the Connecti- 
cut valley. The contrast in this respect between it and the 
proprietary provinces is equally marked. 

More than any other American colony, the settlement of 
Rhode Island was the result of unforeseen conditions, for 
which immediate provision had to be made. No man was 
its founder ; that appellation belongs to no single group of 
men. It was settled by bands of fugitives, who came from 
different quarters and at different times. Their movement 
was not the result of concerted action, though they removed 
thither to escape oppression in the strictly Puritan colonies 
or conditions there which to them had become intolerable. 
With the exception of a few who came from Salem, none 
were disciples of Roger Williams, nor did they go iAto 
exile in order to testify to the truth of his beliefs, or to their 
loyalty to him as a man. And yet common opposition to 
Massachusetts and the policy of which it was the leading 
representative, brought them into practical harmony with 
him. As time passed and the dangers which continued to 
surround them became evident, this was generalized into 
a principle, that of the exclusively secular community. It 
was declared first among the orders of Providence, later 
among those of the plantations on Aquedneck and in the 
legislation of the colony. But this action was occasioned 
by the relations that existed between the inhabitants of all 
those settlements and by the struggle in which they were all 
engaged, rather than by the personality or direct influence 
of Roger Williams. 

Led by circumstances more than by definite choice and 
plan, Williams and his companions established themselves 
on the west side of the peninsula which separated the 
Mooshassuc from the mouth of the Blackstone river, and 
characteristically named the settlement Providence. The 
neck itself consisted of a ridge which furnished them with 
the upland that was immediately needed for the purposes of 
cultivation. To the west, the northwest, and the southwest 
lay the meadows adjacent to the banks of the Mooshassuc 
and the Wanasquatucket, two small fresh-water streams, the 


currents of which united before they mingled with the CHAP. 
" Great Salt River," — the name which the early settlers ^. 
gave to the northernmost arm of Narragansett bay. To the 
low ground along these streams the settlers must look for 
their grass land and pasturage for their cattle. 

As was to be expected, steps were early taken by Williams 
to extinguish the claims of the Indians to the land of the 
plantation. His friendly relations with the Narragansett 
chiefs of the region made this easy. But like most of his 
contemporaries among the colonists, Williams had little 
acquaintance with English law, while he was personally 
careless about details. Two years passed after the so-called 
^^ gift " was received from Canonicus and Miantonomi, before 
a written record of it was obtained, not in the form of a 
deed, but of a memorandum. This was dated in March, 
1638, and it not only confirmed the original purchase of the 
lands and meadows on the Mooshassuc and Wanasquatucket, 
but added ^^ the grass and meadows " on the Pawtuxet, a 
river which lay considerably farther to the southwest. 
According to the language of this memorandum two tracts 
had been conveyed, which were later known as the " Provi- 
dence purchase " and the " Pawtuxet purchase." The latter, 
however, as later interpreted by Williams, was not intended ^ 
to extend beyond the hill Neutaconkanut, which lay a con- 
siderable distance northeast of the middle course of the 
Pawtuxet river. But so indefinite was the language of the 
memorandum, that it was susceptible of an interpretation 
which would push the bounds twenty miles to the westward. 

In 1639 Williams and Benedict Arnold also signed a 
certificate in which it was stated that Miantonomi, one of the 

^ Williams wrote to Whipple, ** The Sachems and I were harried to those 
short hounds by reason of the Indians then at Manshapog, Notakunkonet, and 
Pawtucket, beyond whom the Sachems could not then goe. . . /* ** By ye 
Sachems' grant to me of an abundant sufficiencie to myself and my Friends 
... I never understood infinite and boundless matters, no nor 20 miles, 
but what was of realty counted sufficient for any plantation or town in the 
country." R. I. Tract, No. 14, pp. 27, 30. Williams also states that when the 
grant was made, ** that monstrous bound or business of up stream without 
Limits was not thought of." Ibid. 55. See also the confirmation of 1661, 
Staples, Annals of Providence, 30. 


V _ -» 


PART sachems concerned, had confirmed the previous grants, with 
the addition that the land ^' up streams without limits " might 
be used by the settlers for the pasturage of their cattle. 
This referred to the land on the Mooshassuc and Wanasqua- 
tucket, and was understood by Williams to concede to the 
English by "courtesy," joint use of the lands with the 
Indians. But the form of language was such as to make 
the western bounds of the plantation still more uncertain. 
By the wording of these documents the occasion was 
furnished for controversies which agitated^ Providence at 
intervals for more than a generation. 

By Williams and the half dozen men who accompanied 
him a town government was instituted early in 1636 and 
town meetings were held at intervals of a month or oftener. 
The only official, however, who is mentioned in the frag- 
mentary records is an elected treasurer. That this govern- 
ment was based on a tacit, if not an express, plantation 
covenant, is clear. But some time in 1637,^ on the arrival of 
a body of " second comers," a written covenant was adopted 
to the effect that they whose names were subscribed, de- 
siring to inhabit in the town, subjected themselves « in 
active and passive obedience to all such orders and agree- 
ments as shall be made for public good of the body in 
an orderly way, by the major consent of the present 
inhabitants, masters of families incorporated together in a 
Towne fellowship, and others whom they shall admit unto 
them, only in civil things." The last clause expressed the 

^ The Memorandom and the certificate which was added to it, form the 
sabject of 2 R. I. Tracts, No. 4, by Sidney S. Rider. In this he argaes that 
the certificate and a part of the memorandum were forgeries. The docu- 
ments in question are reproduced by Rider, and also by Hopkins in his 
monograph entitled The Home Lots of Providence. Later deeds bearing on 
the same transaction will be found in Early Records of Providence, IV. 70 ; 
V. 296, R. L Col. Recs. L 18-37, and in Staples, Annals of Providence, 26- 
88, 666-577. The chief references of Williams to the transactions and to 
the controversy which followed are in his Letter to Whipple and his Letter 
to the Commission of 1677, R. I. Hist. Tract, No. 14. Thorough discussions 
of the questions at issue will be found in Dorr, Proprietors of Providence and 
the Freeholders, CoUs. R. L Hist. Soc. IX, and in Richman, Rhode Island, 
L 86, 152 ; IL 197. 

s R. L Col Recs. I. 14. 


resolve of the planters that the enjoyment of rights in the CHAP, 
town should be in no way conditioned by church member- ^ j 
ship, and that any church which might be established should 
be a distinct and purely voluntary association. In order to 
become a townsman it was necessary only to sign the covenant 
and to prove the possession of such character and means as 
to justify the bestowment, on the payment of thirty shillings,^ 
of the customary town lots. 

These steps were taken before the certificate of confirma- 
tion was attached to the memorandum of the Indian grant, 
and before it was decided what the chief purpose of the 
settlement should be and how its land should be managed. 
Were the settlers to be tenants of Williams, or should a 
system of joint occupation, such as that which existed in 
other New England towns, be substituted? It is scarcely 
possible to imagine Roger Williams playing the part of a 
landed proprietor, or of individualists such as those who 
settled about Narragansett bay becoming tenants of him or 
of any other man. It was doubtless Williams's intention 
from the first to admit the settlers to a share in the purchase. 
But William Harris, one of those who had accompanied him 
from Salem, was unusually persistent in his demands that 
this should be done. Williams stated at a later time that 
Harris " wearied " him with his desires, and even pretended 
religion that he might the better secure * his object. 

Harris, however, partially succeeded in his effort. Will- 
iams, in 1638, delivered the so-called "initial deed,"^ of 
which not the original, but only a memorandum, exists. 
This stated that he, the sole purchaser of Providence, in 
consideration of the payment to him of £80 by the inhabit- 
ants of the place, conveyed to twelve of his ^> friends and 
neighbors . . . and such others as the major part of us shall 
admit into the same fellowship of vote with us," joint 
right with himself to enjoy and dispose of said lands. 
Again no attempt was made to state the bounds with 
accuracy, and in the first memorandum the names of the 

1 R. I. Col. Recs. I. 23. 

a Williams to the Commissioners of 1677. R. L Tract, No. 14, p. 55. 

• R. L Col. Recs. 1. 19 \ Staples, 28, 81. 

YOL. I — Z 


grantees or first proprietors were not written out in full. 
In a second memorandum, however, which was dated Octo- 
ber 8, 1638, the full names were substituted for initials.^ 
The effect of the document was to transfer the land to the 
thirteen — of whom Williams was one — as an association or 
quasi-corporation, to be held temporarily in trust by them 
for the rising town. This is clear not only from the language 
of the memorandum, but from the statement of Williams in 
the confirmation of the grant which was issued in 1661.^ 

On October 8, 1638, the date of the second issue of the 
memorandum of the "initial deed," an agreements was 
reached between the thirteen proprietors for their joint 
occupation and ultimate division of the lands of the 
" Pawtuxet purchase " ; but the boundary line between 
these lands and those of the "Providence purchase" was 
not specified. In this agreement, moreover, unlike the 
"initial deed," no reference is made to the admission of 


others than the "thirteen" to the fellowship. The impli- 
cation of the language is that it was already a closed body, 
that no admissions to it were intended. If this was the 
intention of the document, it gives us the earliest sugges- 
tion of the purpose of Harris and of the leading spirits, with 
the exception of Williams, among his associates. That pur- 
pose became clear at a later time, both in reference to the 
lands of Providence and Pawtuxet. It was to secure con- 
trol for these thirteen men, their heirs and assigns, of both 
the Providence and Pawtuxet purchase, to exclude all 
others from a share in their management and in the returns 
that might come from the sale or lease of those lands. Will- 
iams's purpose was to indefinitely enlarge the fellowship, and 
admit to its advantages many more of those who might flee 
to Providence as a refuge from persecution. The ideal of 
Harris was that of the narrow, exclusive town proprietor- 
ship, which should enjoy the power and wealth that might 
come from the settlement within the grant of an increasing 
body of non-commoners. The ideal of Williams was that 
of an expanding democratic community, which should pre- 

1 Staples, 33. > Ibid. 31 ; Richman, L 00 ; Dorr, 13 et aeq. 

• Staples, 34, 576 ; Rider, 46. 


serve the consciousness of the humanitarian impulses of its CHAP, 
founders. With reference to the Pawtuxet lands an agree- 
ment which implied the triumph of Harris's ideal had already 
been reached, while the obscure statements of the deeds relat- 
ing to the boundaries of these lands later revealed to Harris 
the possibility of enlarging their area till they should include 
approximately three hundred thousand acres, — nearly all of 
the northern half of the colony of Rhode Island. 

By confirmatory deeds which Harris and his party pro- 
cured^ in 1659 from the Narragansett sachems who had 
succeeded Canonicus and Miantonomi, the expression ^^up 
streams without limits " was interpreted as a grant for all 
purposes of settlement of the immense tract extending twenty 
miles westward from Fox's Hill on Providence neck. On 
March 26, 1660, the town of Providence ordered its southern 
line run, in accordance with these grants, twenty mUes to the 
westward.^ Viewed from the standpoint of Rhode Island 
interests in general, this was a politic move, because it was 
calculated to thwart the operations of Massachusetts and 
Connecticut in the same region. But it was a land-grabbing 
scheme, the purpose of which was to extend the bounds of 
Providence and Pawtuxet far beyond what had been con- 
templated at the time of the purchase. As such, and because 
Harris and his party had already succeeded in establishing 
the domination of the thirteen proprietors in Providence, 
Williams passionately opposed the plan. This he did, not- 
withstanding the fact that he was one of the thirteen, and 
he and his heirs were destined to share in the gain. In the 
end the plan was defeated. 

From the conditions which have just been outlined devel- 
oped one of the most protracted and bitter controversies be- 
tween proprietors and non-commoners which ever agitated 
a New England town. As political managers Harris and 
Olney, the leaders of the proprietary party, were superior 
to Williams and their other opponents. They consolidated 
the board of proprietors, controlled the town meeting, and 
through that the granting of land and the admission of free- 
men. Providence, under their lead and that of their succes- 

1 B. I. Col. Bec8. I. 35. > Early Recs. of ProYidence, IL 126, 127. 


sors, developed in general accordance with the New England 
model, but, in spite of the teachings of Williams, with special 
emphasis on the proprietary element. 

In 1640, controversies about land being on the increase, a 
plan of settling differences by compulsory arbitration was 
adopted.^ A board of five arbitrators or "disposers" was 
chosen by the town meeting, not only to settle disputes, but 
to dispose of town lands, fix their bounds, and act as an 
executive board for the town. This board was the equiva- 
lent of selectmen and town justices elsewhere, being ulti- 
mately responsible to the town meeting for their acts. That 
resort to compulsion in civil cases was contemplated as pos- 
sible is evident from the provision that, if the parties to a 
controversy refused to choose arbitrators, the board could 
compel them to do so or select them itself and then "see 
their determination performed." This cumbersome machin- 
ery furnished a weak substitute for government in a planta- 
tion of squatters, that was rent by internal strife and was 
adjacent to two colonies which were ready to absorb it. Its 
eflSciency was soon tested. 

In little more than a year after the institution of the arbi- 
trators Samuel Gorton, who had recently been expelled from 
Plymouth and from Aquedneck, settled within the limits of 
Providence. The one consistent feature in his stormy career 
was his refusal to submit to the authority of any govern- 
ment which had not a charter from the English government. 
The association of Providence he knew had no strict binding 
force in law. He also found many newcomers complaining 
because they had not been admitted to town privileges, to 
what they considered fair access to the common land, or 
who were dissatisfied with the administration of justice. 
The monopoly of the proprietors was probably the source 
of the difficulty. Finding it impossible after two applica- 
tions to secure admission into town fellowship ^ Gorton joined 
with the disaffected, the unenfranchised, and the result soon 
was such tumult that Williams feared he would have to 
retire to "little Patience," and thirteen persons, including 

^ Col. Recs. 27 et seq. 

3 Arnold, History of Rhode Island, I. 174. 


Harris and Benedict Arnold, but not Williams, appealed CHAP, 
to Massachusetts^ for protection. Providence was appar- ^^ 
ently saved from serious complications not by its system 
of arbitration, but by the opportune removal of Gorton 
to Shawomet. This experience convinced the leaders that 
it was time to seek more effective authority for govern- 
ment, and helped to open the way for procuring a colony 

The island of Aquedneck was settled by William Codding- 
ton, John Clarke, William Hutchinson, and others, who had 
removed or been banished from Massachusetts as a result 
of the Antinomian controversy. With the help of Williams 
and Henry Vane the land was bought from the Indians.^ 
In March, 1638, a plantation covenant was formed at Provi- 
dence by eighteen original proprietors, together with Randall 
Holden.* It ran as follows : " We whose names are under- 
written do here solemnly, in the presence of Jehovah, incor- 
porate ourselves into a bodie Politick, and, as he shall help, 
will submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to 
all those perfect and most absolute lawes of his given in 
his holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby — 
Ex. xxiv. 3, 4; 2 Chron. xi. 3; 2 Kings, xi. 17." 

A marked difference appears between this and the Provi- 
dence compact. The one adopted by Coddington and his 
associates is profoundly religious, even Mosaic in character. 
Its language and the biblical quotations show that its authors 
considered themselves to be in a way reproducing the cove- 
nant between Jehovah and the chosen people. Submission 
is made, not to laws of their own making, but to those of 
God. Nothing is said about submission in civil things only. 
So far as the language of this covenant goes, one must infer 
that those who framed it were men of the genuine Massa- 
chusetts type, and might have intended to form an asso- 
ciation in which the civil and ecclesiastical power should be 
united, — an Hebrew commonwealth. The impression is 
strengthened when we find that William Coddington was 

1 Narr. Club, VI. Ul ; R. I. Hist Colls. II. 191-193; Richman, L 112. 
« Col. Recs. L 45. • Ibid. I. 62. 


PABT elected their chief magistrate with the title of Judge, and 
that he covenanted to administer justice according to the 
laws of God, while the settlers agreed to honor him accord- 
ing to the same laws. At the same time, by the promise 
of the judge, recognition was given to the rights and privi- 
leges of the body politic, which later were to be " ratified 
according to God." We are brought back again into the 
modern era by the next entry, to the effect that William 
Aspinwall was chosen secretary and William Dyer clerk of 
the body. ^ 

Soon after the adoption of this covenant the settlers estab- 
lished themselves at Pocasset, near the northern end of the 
island. There, until April, 1639, they were a town and ger- 
minal colony in one. They were a body of associated de 
facto freemen, calling themselves sometimes a body politic, 
sometimes a society. Their assembly they called a " general 
meeting upon the public notice," or a ^^ general meeting of 
the body." It was a town meeting, passing orders like that 
at Providence or elsewhere, about the laying out and sale of 
lots, care of the unimproved land, locating the meeting-house, 
repairing highways, building a mill, local police, and other 
similar affairs. It controlled its own membership under an 
order reserving to " the body " the right to receive inhabit- 
ants or freemen. But no express religious test was at- 
tached to membership, a feature of their plan which later 
opened the way for their union with Providence. Trained 
bands were established, trainings and the assize of arms 
were ordered, functions which, together with the indepen- 
dence of the settlement, suggest the colony more than the 

Until January, 1639, the only officials referred to in the 
records of this plantation, besides those already mentioned, 
were two ^ treasurers and a marshal. Then three elders were 
elected, ^'to assist the Judge in the Execution of Justice 
and Judgment for the regulating and ordering of all offences 
and offenders, and for the drawing up and determining of 
all such Rules and Laws as shall be according to God, which 
may conduce to the good and welfare of the Commonweale, 

^ Col. Bees. I. 63 et seq. 


. . ." Once every quarter the judge and elders should sub- CHAP, 
mit their acts and rules to " the body " for its review, and 
those which it disapproved should be repealed. It thus 
appears that it was the intention to allow the judge and his 
councillors or associates little discretion and to keep them 
under the close scrutiny of the community. Shortly after 
the issue of this order the officials were increased by the 
election of a constable and sergeant, the former to present 
cases of manifest breaches of the law, and the latter to keep 
the prison, and serve the judges like a modem sheriff.^ . -^ 

Within four months after the eldership was created, the 
elders — Easton, Coggshall, and Brenton — together with Cod- 
dington, the judge, and five others, removed to the southern 
end of the island, where they founded the plantation of New- 
port. There the leading settlers, among whom a relatively 
strong aristocratic spirit prevailed, signed a compact^ in 
which they agreed to bear proportionable charges, and to 
abide by the decisions reached by the majority vote of 
judge and elders. The former was given a double voice. 
The wording of this document would indicate that greater 
discretion was to be allowed the magistrates than in the 
Pocasset settlement. The strong Mosaic element was also 
omitted from the Newport compact, but a later entry shows 
that the government was still to be administered according 
to the word of God. Soon provision was made for an annual 
meeting of the magistrates and "freemen," which should be 
called the " general court " * or assembly. The meeting of 
the magistrates appears as a "particular Court." The sug- 
gestion of the colony in this is striking. 

The abandonment of Pocasset by its magistrates, though a 
majority of the incorporators and admitted members were 
left, necessitated a new covenant and the reestablishment of 
government there. The covenant which was adopted at 
Pocasset on April 30, 1639, differed remarkably from the one 
of the year previous. " We . . . acknowledge ourselves the 
legall subjects of his Majestic King Charles, and in his name 
doe hereby binde ourzelves into a civill body politicke, unto 
his lawes according to matters of justice."* A possible 

1 Col. Bees. I. 66. « Ibid, 87, 91. • Ibid. 97, 98. * Ibid, 70. 


PART explanation of this change has been found ^ in the appear- 
^^ J ance among the signers of this compact of the names of 
Samuel Gorton, John Wickes, Sampson Shotton, and Robert 
Potter, men who were afterwards among the original pur- 
chasers of Shawomet or Warwick. Whether or not Gorton's 
influence was sufficient to produce the change, it is true that 
his view of the proper attitude of colonies toward the crown 
found recognition in the new Pocasset compact. Another 
indication of English influence was the earliest provision for 
jury trial which appears among the Narragansett plantations. 
The agreement was formed for only one year, and for that 
term officers were chosen. Thus we have on Aquedneck two 
small plantations, joint owners of the soil of the island, 
but otherwise independent of each other and of all other 
colonies ; the one acknowledging subjection to the king and 
the other recognizing no earthly superior. 

But in November, 1639, the Newport settlers opened the 
way for the reunion of the two settlements by acknowledg- 
ing King Charles as their sovereign, and voting to ask Mr. 
Vane to help procure a patent for the island. By this act 
theocracy on the island was abandoned and Newport prac- 
tically announced its willingness to accept the secularized 
democratic system which was in vogue in the neighboring 
town. In March, 1640, ten of the leading inhabitants of 
Pocasset appeared at Newport and desired to be reunited 
with that body. Gorton and Mrs. Hutchinson, however, 
were opposed to the reunion, and Gorton and Wickes were 
not made freemen, but remained simply as inhabitants. 
The other friends of Gorton joined in the application * made 
at Newport. Their offer was accepted and the petitioners 
were received as " freemen of this Body." But by that act 
" the Bodye " became something more than Newport, with its 
land extending a few miles to the north. "The Body" 
came now to include all the inhabitants of the island. But 
they were differently organized from what they were when 
all lived together at Pocasset. Now there were two settle- 
ments or plantations, which by their union formed a colony. 

^ Braytx)n, Defence of Samuel Gorton, R. I. Tract, No. 17, p. 49. 
3 Col. Recs. I. 100 ; Brayton, op. cit. 63. 


By virtue also of that union each plantation appears dis- CHAP, 
tinctly as a town, and is so called in the records. The name 
Pocasset was at the same time changed to Portsmouth. 

The title of judge also disappears, and the chief magistrate 
of the colony receives the designation of governor. Provi- 
sion was made for a deputy governor and four assistants,^ 
also for two treasurers, a secretary, and a sergeant. A 
constable was chosen for each town. Five ^ men were selected 
to lay out the lands of Portsmouth and three to lay out those 
of Newport. A line was drawn between the two towns. It 
was ordered that each town^ should transact its own special 
business, and that the magistrates of each should hold 
monthly courts for the trial of petty cases. All officials 
were elected. The governor and two assistants should be 
residents of one town, the deputy and the two remaining 
assistants should live in the other town. Provision was 
made for two annual sessions of the general court — that 
held in the spring being the court of election — and for a 
court of quarter sessions. An elaborate system. of trainings 
was also established. These orders reveal the fact that the 
Massachusetts government was imitated in all save its reli- 
gious test and its failure to expressly acknowledge submission 
to the crown. In 1641 * the government of this colony was 
solemnly declared to be democratic or popular, because the 
legislative power and the authority to choose officers to exe- 
cute the laws resided in the freemen, or the majority of them, 
orderly assembled. By an order of September 19, 1642, the 
sale of lands on Aquedneck to outside jurisdictions or to 
Dutch settlers was forbidden. In 1644 the colony assumed 
the name Rhode Island, and with its simple democratic 
system and its two towns it continued to exist till 1647. 

The origin and relations of Warwick, the fourth among 
the group of Narragansett towns, cannot be understood apart 
from the career of Samuel Gorton and the group of men who 
attached themselves to him. They exhibited more of the 

1 Col. Recs. I. 101 et seq. 

^ Later, because of the neglect of two, the duty was introsted to the 
remaining three. Ibid. 109. 

• Ibid. 106. * Ibid. 112. 


spirit of the English Levellers than did the settlers of Provi- 
dence or Aquedneck. Gorton's mind and utterances were 
saturated with the ideas and images of the Hebrew poets 
and prophets. The imprecatory psalms and the Apocalypse 
must have been frequent subjects of his perusal. From the 
few mystical and confused writings which he has left it is 
impossible to form a definite idea of his religious belief. But 
it seems to have resembled in many of its features the inspi- 
rationism of Anne Hutchinson and her followers, and it was 
at the time of the excitement over her preaching that Gorton 
had arrived in New England. Baptists have also laid some 
claim to kinship with him. He looked upon the Massachu- 
setts churches as akin in spirit to the papal and other state- 
church systems of Europe,^ and therefore as wholly blind to 
the true spiritual significance of Christ's kingdom. With a 
tone of contempt worthy of the Antinomian prophetess, he 
and his followers told the Massachusetts leaders that their 
salvation was a shadow rather than a substance, that their 
ordinances were vain,^ and that the main object of their system 
was to aggrandize the magistrates and clergy. They were 
bringing forth nothing but fruit unto death ; true holiness 
and the spiritual life in its real beauty lay not within their 
"jurisdiction." The intolerance of the Puritans came in 
for its due share of condemnation, as the strongest evidence 
of their essentially worldly spirit. The use of the oath, to 
which they so often resorted, was denounced as the assump- 
tion of a divine prerogative. 

Gorton himself was a constant reader of the Bible, and often 
acted as lay preacher, both in Old and New England. He 
was ardent and contentious, always ready to champion the 
cause of the weak and oppressed. He also firmly refused to 
recognize the validity of any of the colonial governments which 
were based simply on agreement, and insisted that the only 
sufficient basis of authority was a grant from the English gov- 
ernment. His opposition to the intolerance and priestcraft 
of Massachusetts brought him into conflict with that colony, 
though he never questioned the legality of her government. 
His sympathy with the weak, together with his contempt for 

1 Simplicities Defence, 26, 27, in Force, Tracts, IV. ^ Winthrop, II. 175. 


magistrates who could trace their authority to nothing more CHAP, 
than a civil or social contract, brought him into collision ^^^ 
with the various plantations about Narragansett bay. When, 
therefore, he established a settlement at Shawomet or War- 
wick, on the western shore of the bay, powers of government 
were not at first assumed. Its only original and express 
bond of union was an agreement to settle disputes by means 
of arbitration. 

The difficulties which beset Gorton and his associates in 
the founding of their plantation admirably illustrate the 
extreme individualism of the settlers about Narragansett 
bay, and the delicate relations under which they stood both 
toward one another and toward the neighboring colonies. 
After a brief residence in Massachusetts, and when the 
reaction there against the Hutchinson-Wheelwright faction 
was gaining irresistible headway, Gorton had sought refuge 
at Plymouth. But there he took up the cause of one Ellen 
Aldridge, who he thought was being persecuted for some 
slight offence committed in church.^ For his conduct in 
connection with this Gorton was bound over to appear before 
the next general court. During the customary informal 
hearing which occurred there, one of the assistants, who of 
course was also a judge, at the request of the governor began 
to state the case against Gorton. Thereupon Gorton bade him 
come down from the judges' seat, and appealed to the people 
to stand for their liberties and not act as parties and judges 
in the same case. For this justifiable, though passionate, 
protest against the vicious judicial procedure of the time he 
was sentenced to banishment, and amid the severities of 
winter removed to Pocasset. 

1 Winslow, Hypocrisie Unmasked, 66-68, states that the court had ordered 
her oat of the plantation because of offensive speeches and conduct. The 
Becords (L 100) state that she was required to appear, but absented herself 
and was conveyed away by the help of Oorton and his wife, ** whereby the 
Court was deluded/* It was therefore ordered that, if found, she should be 
corrected as the bench thought fit, and be sent from constable to constable 
to the place whence she came. Gorton states that, though a respectable 
woman, the court desired to expel her as a vagabond, because she smiled 
in the congregation ; and that to escape the shame of this she fled into the 
woods, remaining there several days and part of the nights, so as not to be 
seen in the town. 


PART During his residence of about eighteen months at Ply- 
^^ ^'j mouth Gorton had apparently been attaching to himself 
friends who were prepared to share his opinions and his 
wanderings. In the course of a sojourn of about the same 
period of time on Aquedneck he added to their number. 
After the two plantations on the island had been united, 
Gorton and his friend Wickes violated all the proprieties 
before the court at Newport, and for what occurred on 
this occasion Gorton was whipped.^ Years after he wrote 
that he respected the government of Plymouth, for he 
understood that they acted under commission from England, 
but those on Aquedneck had set up for themselves, and " I 
thought myself as fit and able to govern myself and family 
and perform the office of neighborhood as any that then 
was upon Rhode Island." To Gorton's experience at 
Providence and his subsequent removal to Shawomet refer- 
ence has already been made. 

In January, 1643, Gorton and his associates extinguished, 
as they thought, the Indian claim to the tract* called 
Shawomet, on which they now proposed to settle. It was 
located on the west side of Narragansett bay, between 
Gaspee point and Warwick neck, and comprised the larger 
part of what were the later towns of Warwick and Coven- 
try. A deed for the land was procured from Miantonomi, 
the Narragansett sachem, acting on behalf of the tribe whose 
rights of possession extended over this region. The deed 
was witnessed by Pumham, the local or subordinate chief.* 
Gorton was now clearly outside any English colony the 
jurisdiction of which seemed at all likely to be enforced. 
But he was not to remain unmolested. 

William Arnold and three associates of Pawtuxet, who in 
1642 had put themselves under the protection of Massa- 
chusetts in order to escape from the molestation of Gorton,' 
were active enemies of the Shawomet settlers. Arnold and 
his friends had bought land from Sacononoco,^ the chief of 

1 Winslow, op. cit. 62 ; Braytoiif 55 ; Gorton, Letter to Morton, S ; Arnold, 
L 170 ; Palfrey, II. 120 n. 

s Winthrop, II. 144. Colls. R. L Hist. Soc. II. 254. 

> Mass. Col Recs. II. 26. * Arnold, Histoiy of Rhode Island, I. 177. 


Pawtuxet, without the consent of Miantonomi, and were CHAP, 
thus directly interested in proving, if possible, the inde- ^ ' , 
pendence of the local chiefs. Benedict Arnold, acting as in- 
terpreter, soon brought Pumham and Sacononoco to Boston.^ 
Pumham declared that he had been forced by Miantonomi, 
under the influence of Gorton, to sign the deed for Shawo- 
met, and the two chiefs asked to be received under the 
protection of Massachusetts. Miantonomi was now sum- 
moned to Boston, but naturally could not prove to the 
satisfaction of the magistrates that the two chiefs were 
his subjects. Others, including Benedict Arnold, aflBrmed 
that they were not such. The relations which existed, 
especially since the decline of the Narragansett tribe had 
begun, were in reality loose and hard to define, while the 
interests of the Pawtuxet men led them to actively support 
the claims of the local chiefs. 

At this juncture, as usual, Gorton by his assertiveness 
played into the hands of his foes. He and twelve of his 
associates, says Winthrop, *' sent a writing to our court of 
four sheets of paper, full of reproaches against our magis- 
trates, elders and churches, of familistical and absurd 
opinions, and therein they justified their purchase of the 
sachems' land, and professed to maintain it to the death." 
Passions already ran so high, that the possibility even of an 
armed conflict was suggested in words. 

Not unnaturally the general court, at the session of May, 
1643,2 ordered Humphrey Atherton and Edward Tomlins 
to accompany William Arnold on a visit to Warwick, " to 
understand how things were," and to bring back an Indian 
named Will, if possible. On the same day the magistrates, 
together with the deputies of the towns along the southern 
border, were appointed a committee to treat with Pumham 
and Sacononoco concerning their submission to Massachusetts, 
"and to receive them under our jurisdiction, if they see 
cause, and to wame any to desist which shall disturb them." 
About the close of June both these chiefs signed a form of 
submission to the government of Massachusetts, and its 
protection was extended over them. They at the same 

1 Winthrop, II. 144 el seq, > Mass. Col. Recs. II. 36, 38, 40. 


time professed their willingness to receive religious instruc- 
tion. Land-jobbing, missionary labors, and defence against 
Indians and heretics, in a region far south of the limits 
of Massachusetts, thus went conveniently hand in hand. 
Gorton, in consequence, found himself within the grasp of a 
stronger power than any he had before encountered. 

Later in the year Gorton and his associates were sum- 
moned to appear before the general court at Boston. They 
refused to go and denied the jurisdiction claimed, and this 
denial was accompanied by more defiant, or, as Winthrop 
calls them, more ^^ blasphemous," messages. Massachusetts, 
having received from the Commissioners of the United 
Colonies permission to deal with her new claim as she 
saw fit,^ sent a commission — Captain Cook, Lieutenant 
Atherton, and Captain Edward Johnson — to Shawomet, 
accompanied by forty soldiers, to bring the offenders to Bos- 
ton, where they might be tried for religious error and for 
their alleged violation of the rights of Massachusetts citi- 
zens. The commissioners and soldiers, on their approach to 
Sliawomet, were warned away, but replied by threatening 
an attack if the^- were not admitted to a conference. By 
the interposition of some Providence men a truce was con- 
cluded and the Gortonists offered to submit to arbitration. 
A messenger was sent to Boston for further instructions, 
but came back with word from the magistrates and elders 
that arbitration would not be allowed, because the Gorton- 
ists were not a state, but were under the jurisdiction of 
Massachusetts, because of their blasphemous writings and 
because the persons from Providence to whom they wished 
to submit the case for judgment were not recognized as 
belonging to any government. Upon the reception of this 
message the siege of the house in which the Gortonists 
were was begun. Gorton in his Defence gives a very full 
account of this, and charges the Massachusetts men with 
bloodthirsty cruelty, but these are denied seriatim by 

The capture was effected without bloodshed and the 
prisoners were taken to Boston. There they were tried on 

1 Plymouth Recs. IX. 12 ; Winthrop, II. 166. 


charges of heresy and sedition. On the first Sabbath which CHAP, 
they spent in Boston, Gorton, at his own request, was allowed ^™' 
to speak in church after Cotton had concluded his sermon. 
He then argued that all the ministers, ordinances, and sacra- 
ments of Massachusetts were human inventions intended 
for display. In his examination Gorton claimed that Shaw- 
omet was outside the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, but he 
did not show his Indian deed. It was answered that, if so, 
it lay either within Plymouth or Connecticut, and they had 
yielded their rights in the controversy to Massachusetts. 
The religious and political doctrines of Gorton's letters were 
gone over, but he could not be brought to deny the authority 
of legal government backed by charter from England. His 
views, however, were confused and contradictory. The 
elders made a special effort to controvert and reclaim all the 
accused, but without success. The mag^trates then voted 
that Gorton should be executed, but the deputies were opposed 
to this. Gorton and six others were finally sentenced to 
imprisonment with hard labor. They were dispersed among 
the different towns of the colony, and were forbidden to 
depart therefrom or to utter their doctrines, except to an 
elder or one licensed by the magistrates. Each prisoner was 
also to wear iron shackles on one leg. But the following 
year — 1644 — it was voted to set the prisoners at liberty and 
to banish them from the colony.^ The reason for this was, that 
their heresies were found to be spreading. Massachusetts 
was thus forced to confess its failure in this matter. The 
Gortonists took refuge at Aquedneck, where their sufferings 
since their expulsion gained for them a welcome. They at 
once renewed intercourse with the Narragansetts and con- 
vinced them that in the wars in old England the Gortonogas 
had conquered the Wattaconogas, or Massachusetts party. 
Miantonomi had also been put to death, partly because of 
his connection with Gorton. The Narragansetts were thus 
induced to put themselves by solemn declaration * under the 

1 Winthrop, 11. 179, 188. 

> Copy in Gorton's Defence, 90, signed by Pessicos and Canonicus, and 
dated April 19, 1645. It included the whole Narragansett country and its 
people. They were called subjects. 


PART protection of the crown. Soon after Gorton and Holden 
left for England to carry the submission of the Narragan- 
setts. In 1646 they returned, bringing an order ^ from the 
Commissioners of Plantations requiring Massachusetts to 
allow Gorton and his friends to land and pass through its 
territory to Warwick and settle there. Massachusetts had 
however taken possession of the land in question, and in 
1645 granted it to about twenty families from Braintree. 
But on the ground that Warwick lay within its limits 
John Brown, one of the magistrates of Plymouth, had inter- 
fered and stopped the settlers from Braintree, when they 
were going to take possession. The magistrates of Plym- 
outh did not sanction Brown's act,^ neither did they re- 
nounce the claim which they had made to Warwick. It was 
with dijBBculty that Holden, in 1646, and Gorton, in 1648, 
obtained permission to pass through Massachusetts. Massa- 
chusetts meantime had sent Winslow to England as her repre- 
sentative, furnished with protests. Winslow appeared before 
the commissioners, and presented the case of Metssacliusetts. 
But, though sympathy with the political and ecclesiastical 
system of Massachusetts was expressed, no attempt was 
made to settle the question of jurisdiction over Shawomet. 
It was left to be determined on the place, when the boun- 
daries could be ascertained. The question was not settled 
till it became involved with that of the boundary of Provi- 
dence Plantations as a whole. The Gortonists meantime 
held possession of Warwick, and the English government 
prohibited molestation of them by any of the neighboring 

Had it not been for outside pressure, these four communi- 
ties might have remained separate for an indefinite time. 
The region about Narragansett bay, as occupied by them, 
possessed no geographical unity, and causes proceeding from 
that source tended to keep them apart. The bay was the 
natural boundary between Connecticut and Plymouth, and, 
had it not been for the specifications of its charter, Mas- 
sachusetts might very properly have extended its bounds 
to the northern extremity of the bay. Thus the tendency 

I Winthrop, U. 832, 342. « Ibid, 308. 


was for Providence to be absorbed by Massachusetts, War- CHAP. 
wick by Connecticut, and Aquedneck by Plymouth. They ^^^^ 
all were menaced by stronger and somewhat ambitious neigh- 
bors. As they clung to their respective shores, the danger 
that they would lose independent existence increased. 

The spirit of individualism was so strong that it operated, 
in connection with geographical tendencies, to keep the 
plantations apart. The inhabitants of them all, under one 
form or another, were in revolt against authority. Govern- 
ment from a remote centre seemed to them oppressive, and 
they demanded that positive restraint in all forms should be 
reduced to a minimum. The influence of the church and 
clergy was lacking or seriously weakened in all these com- 
munities. Individual choice, caprice, or indifference were 
given unusually free play. The tendency was to divide into 
smaller groups, rather than to combine into larger ones. 
When the elders and magistrates of Massachusetts heard of 
the disputes which went on in their assemblies, of their 
failure to organize churches, and of the ideas of individual 
liberty which were held, they called it anarchy, and consid- 
ered the Narragansett plantations fit only for subjection and 

Events growing out of these conditions gradually made it 
evident to the plantations themselves that union of some 
kind was necessary to the preservation of their distinct 
existence. These events were : the encroachments of Massa- 
chusetts as evidenced by the surrender of the Pawtuxet men 
to her, and the submission made to her by Pumham; the 
imminence of an Indian war in 1643, in which event the 
Narragansett country would be most exposed of all to attack ; 
the refusal of the United Colonies, though on the eve of this 
Indian war, to receive Rhode Island as a member of their 
confederacy ; the claims advanced by Plymouth in 1644, 
under the Bradford patent, to jurisdiction over Aquedneck.^ 
The attitude of opposition on the part of the neighboring 
colonies was strengthened by the fact that nearly all the 
settlers in the Narragansett towns were exiles from their own 
1 Hypocrisie Unmasked, 83 ; Instructions to John Brown, Arnold, L 169. 

VOL. I — 2 a 


The first step which the plantations took toward union, 
and at the same time toward the rescue of themselves and 
their principles from destruction, was the despatch of Roger 
Williams, in 1643, to England to procure a charter. In 
March, 1644, the patent was granted, and with it Williams 
returned to the colony the following September. The char- 
ter was issued by the Earl of Warwick, the governor-in-chief 
and lord high admiral of the plantations, together with the 
Commissioners of Plantations, both of whom derived their 
authority from an ordinance of the Lords and Commons. 
Of this board Viscount Say and Sele, the younger Vane, 
and Samuel Vassall were members, all of whom, together 
with Warwick, had been interested in the colonization of 
New England. But among the eighteen members Vane and 
Cromwell were the two who had most sympathy with the 
ideas of Williams and the experiment in religious freedom, 
the faint beginnings of which it was his desire to cherish. 
The majority of the board was much more inclined to ap- 
prove the polity of Massachusetts. 

While Williams was negotiating for the charter, influ- 
ences were brought to bear by Thomas Welde and Hugh 
Peters to thwart his plan. They secured the signatures of 
nine of the eighteen commissioners to a document, the pur- 
pose of which was to add to the territory of Massachusetts 
all the land ^ about Narragansett bay, including the Island 
of Aquedneck. But as the ordinance creating the Commis- 
sioners of Plantations required, for such transactions, the 
assent of a majority of the board, the so-called Narragansett 
patent was never legally issued. In 1645, however, it was sent 
over to Massachusetts, though that colony never clearly made 
it the basis of a claim to jurisdiction. 

The patent^ which was procured by Williams designated 
the settlements collectively as Providence Plantations in the 
Narragansett bay in New England, and purported to incor- 

1 New England Genealogical Reg. XL 41 ; R. I. Recs. I. 133, 45S ; Mass. 
Recs. m. 49 ; Arnold, L 118 ; Palfrey, II. 122 n. ; R. I. Hist. Coll. II. 250 ; 
Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., June, 1862; Richman, L 180. The so-called patent 
bore the date, December 10, 1643. 

* Col. Recs. L 143. 


porate them under that name. In the most general terms it CHAP, 
declared that these were bounded by Massachusetts on the 
north, Plymouth on the east, and the Narragansett country 
and Pequot or Pawcatuck river on the west.^ It also re- 
ferred expressly to the towns of Providence, Portsmouth, 
and Newport. It gave the plantations the authority to rule 
themselves and future settlers within their limits by such 
form of civil government as by the consent of the majority 
they should find most suitable to their condition. The sepa- 
ration of church from state was implicitly recognized in the 
patent by the exclusive use of the term "civil government.*' 
The only restriction laid upon the plantations was the one of 
such general conformity to English law as their condition 
and government would admit. The commissioners also re- 
served the right, which was theirs from the outset, to adjust 
the relations between this and the other colonies in such 
way as they should consider to be for the advantage of the 
realm and dominions. 

This is noteworthy as the earliest attempt to incorporate 
a colony on the place, but it afforded no immediate guaran- 
ties against the kingship in England, though it did give some 
protection against other colonies as long as the government 
which issued it maintained itself. But it imposed no gov- 
ernment or governing body on the Narragansett settlements, 
and left it wholly to them to decide whether or not they 
would unite and organize a government under the charter. 
This aU was in keeping with the character and methods of 
Williams, as well as with those of most of the patentees con- 
cerned. Three years passed after the charter reached Amer- 
ica before the tendencies toward union became so strong as 
to lead to the organization of government under it. 

In May, 1647, a court of election, attended by the major- 
ity of the freemen of the colony, was held at Portsmouth.* 
This body included members from Warwick, as well as from 
the other towns, and it was voted that Warwick should have 
the same privileges as Providence. By Providence,^ and 

^ Pubs, of Narr. Club, YI, Letter of Williams to Major John Mason. R. L 
Bees. I. 468. 

* CoL Bees. L 147 et seq. * Staples, Annals of Froyidence, 61. 


perhaps by the other towns, representatives were chosen to 
attend the court, but in addition to these the freemen at- 
tended numerously in their own right ; ^ it was both a primary 
and a representative assembly. So far as Rhode Island was 
concerned, it is probable that the towns, rather than the 
joint or colony government, were represented. Scarcely any 
evidence of that government appears in the proceedings of 
the assembly. By one of its acts ^ Portsmouth and Newport 
were empowered to pass and enforce local orders either 
jointly or apart. But it seems that, after a vote in Newport 
favorable to continued joint action, Portsmouth voted unani- 
mously to act apart. Thus the joint government on Rhode 
Island disappeared, except so far as it was revived by the 
Coddington episode. The colony then which was organized 
in 1647 was formed by the union of a people which had pre- 
viously for a decade been organized as towns. Providence 
instructed its delegates to the Portsmouth assembly, reserv- 
ing to itself full power to elect and control its own olBScers, 
to transact all its town business, to try all cases save those 
which should be reserved for the colony courts, and to keep * 
its officers and their powers distinct from those of the colony. 
Utterances of this character, when compared with any which 
proceeded from towns in the other colonies, illustrate the 
peculiarity of the Rhode Island system. 

By the colonists in court of election at Portsmouth the 
charter was accepted. This was done by means of an express 
" engagement," * which was embodied in the preamble to the 
code of laws. " Wee whose names are here underwritten, doe 
engage ourselves to the uttmost of our estates and strength 
to maintayne the authority and to enjoy the Libertie granted 
to us by our Charter, in the extent of itt according to the 
Letter." While acknowledging the source whence their 
patent had come, yet, since it gave them a free hand, they ex- 
pressly formed a social compact : " We do joyntlie agree to 
incorporate ourselves, and soe to remaine a Body Politicke by 

^ Staples, Annals of Proyidence, 64. One of the orders of the general 
court provided that the inhabitants of Portsmouth and Newport might choose 
the officers of the Island, but that that should not be a precedent for the future. 
Col. Recs. I. 150. « Ibid, 206 ; Arnold, I. 214. 

> Col. Recs. L 43. « Ibid. 147, 166. Arnold, I. 202. 


the authoritie thereof, and therefore do declare to own our- CHAP, 
selves and one another to be members of the same Body, and ^^^ 
to have right to the Freedome and priviledges thereof, etc." 
By virtue of the same authority they declared themselves a 
democracy, " that is to say, a Government held by ye free 
and voluntarie consent of all, or the greater parte of the 
free Inhabitants." 

Though Roger Williams was the agent who procured the 
charter, Rhode Island seems to have taken the lead in the 
organization of government und^r it. This appears in part 
from the fact that, after the above engagement and declara- 
tion had been adopted, a code of laws, selected from those of 
England so far as they were known or thought to be adapted 
to the conditions of the place, was accepted, and this code 
seems to have been prepared and submitted by the islanders.^ 
Providence expressed in advance its assent to ^^ that model 
that hath lately been shown unto us by our worthy friends 
of the Island." To these " Lawes " was prefixed a reaffirma- 
tion of the clause in Magna Carta which prohibited arbitrary 
arrests and punishments, and a declaration that in this case 
the law of the land (lex terrae) was the law ratified and con- 
firmed by the general assembly of the colony. That alone 
was declared to be law in the colony which was made such 
by assemblies called and held according to the charter. This 
meant the exclusion of English law when unconfirmed by the 
general assembly, and a claim that the colony courts should 
have the exclusive right to administer justice. Only legally 
constituted officers — meaning those of the colony — could 
execute the laws. The principle that public officials should 
be supported by salaries and fined when they refused to 
serve was also affirmed. After reciting the more familiar 
provisions of the English criminal law and those for the 
probate of wills, the code concluded with provisions concern- 
ing the organization and powers of the courts of the colony, 
the powers of judicial officers, and a few clauses about the 
jury and pleading. 

1 Col. Recs. I. 42, 147, 167 ; Staples, 62. We may see here the influence of 
Coddington and a few others on the Island who had been magistrates in 


No act was passed creating a general court, but the 
assembly which was called together to organize the gov- 
ernment of the colony was assumed to be that body. In 
the legislation of May, 1648, it appears as a representative 
body, and continues to be such thereafter. It consisted of six 
deputies chosen from each town, and was frequently called 
the " representative committee," as well as a " general court of 
commissioners." ^ In it the governor and assistants appear to 
have had no seats, and it was distinct from the May assembly 
or court of election, in which these and the other officials 
of the colony were elected. Two general courts were thus 
in existence : the general court of election, which was 
attended by outgoing magistrates and freemen, and the 
general court of commissioners, which was representative. 
They met in different towns in succession. Though, as in 
the other corporate colonies, authority proceeded wholly 
from the freemen through election, the executive and legis- 
lature were kept distinct.* Under such an arrangement 
there could be no question of a negative voice, and the 
political power of the executive would be seriously limited. 
The term " freeman " approximated also much more closely to 
inhabitant than it did in the other ^ colonies. 

The prominence of the towns in this colony, as well as the 
prevailing jealousy of delegated power, is reflected in the 
method of legislation prescribed by the general court of 
1647. It was a crude combination of initiative and referen- 

1 Col. Bees. L 200, 228, 220 ; October, 1650. '* It is ordered that a commit- 
tee of six men of each Towne shall be chosen out of each Towne to meet foure 
dayes before the next Generall Courte, and to have the full power of the Gen- 
erall Assemblie. . . .** The body here referred to met mider the name of 
** Generall Assembly,** October 26, and under the authority of this order 
passed laws. Among those was one ** that the representative committee for 
the Colonic shall always consist of six discreet, able men, and chosen out of 
each Towne for the transacting of the affaires of the Commonwealth.** 
The Records contain entries of their sessions, usually under the name of 
** general court of commissioners,** till the issue of the royal charter. 

^ The meaning of this statement is, that the president and assistants had 
officially no status in the general court. The president was sometimes chosen 
moderator, assistants were not infrequently chosen as members of the general 
court ; but these were positions wholly distinct from that which they officially 

* There is a list of the freemen, as they were in 1655, in Col. Bees. L 200. 


dum. Bills might originate in the towns, as well as in the CHAP. 


general court. If in the former, and all the four towns 
should approve, the bill should be submitted to a ^^ Com- 
mittee ^ for the General Courte," consisting of six members 
chosen from each town. In this provision possibly appears 
the first sign of the general court in representative form. 
However, by this body of twenty -four the bill or bills were 
to be ordered to stand till the next general assembly, or court 
of election. It then might make the bills permanent law or 
reject them. When legislation was initiated in the general 
court, it should be submitted to the towns, discussed and 
voted on by them, and their votes returned to the general 
court. If the majority, apparently of the popular vote taken 
by towns, was favorable to the legislation, it should stand as 
law tiU confirmed or repealed by the next general assembly. 
At first no time limit was set within which the towns must 
act ; but in 1650 and 1658 it was enacted that they must send 
in their votes to the general recorder within ten days after 
the bills had been read to them. In 1660 the time limit 
was extended to three months.* This experiment continued 
in operation until the issue of the royal charter/ Then the 
towns began to assume the subordinate position of adminis- 
trative units which they had held from the first in the other 
corporate colonies, and the particularistic conditions of the 
early time to an extent disappeared. 

In the code ^ to which reference has been made, the num- 
ber and titles of officers of the colony were specified. They 
were the president, four assistants, a general recorder, general 
treasurer, and general sergeant. Later an attorney-general 
and solicitor-general were added. Of the board of four 
assistants one should be a resident in each town. In the 
code it was also declared that these officials should be 
annually chosen in the general assembly, by which was 
meant the court of election. For president, recorder, treas* 
urer, and sergeant each town should present a nominee, and 
he who received the majority of votes should be declared 
elected. For the office of assistant each town should pre- 
sent two names, and the one who received the majority of 

1 Col. Recs. L 149. > Ihid, 229, 401, 429. * Ihid. 191. 


PABT votes should be elected. Voting should be by ballot. By 
V M another clause it was provided that the military ofl&cers^ 

should be chosen in each town by the majority of the inhab- 
itants thereof. By these enactments the universality of 
tenure by election was secured. The principle thus guaran- 
tied was stated in the preamble of an order of 1647* re- 
quiring officials whose terms had expired to surrender the 
public records in their possession. ''And now forasmuch 
as the choice of all the officers that are to be employed 
in this Colonic, like the Colonies about us, (occurs) once a 
year, whereby it may be easily collected that he that hath 
an office or charge this yeare may have none another." 

In the records the functions of officials to which reference 
is chiefly made are judicial. The president, whose title was 
later changed to governor, together with the assistants, con- 
stituted the court ^ of trials, the highest regular tribunal of 
the colony. It met in two sessions annually, one of which 
was held just after the court of election and the other in 
October. Its jurisdiction appears to have been substantially 
the same as that of the court of assistants in other colonies. 
That the board also performed the ordinary administrative 
functions is also certain, though little positive evidence of 
the fact appears in the records. The president was em- 
powered by writ to the general sergeant to notify the colony 
of the approach of a general assembly. There is also express 
evidence that he called special sessions of the general court. 
Once in 1668 and twice the following year a "general 
council " met.^ It consisted of the president, the assistants, 
and certain local officers, in one case wardens of Providence 
and Warwick. There is no record of the creation of such a 
body, or of its meeting subsequent to the three times men- 
tioned. The business it then did was executive, such as a 
board of governor and assistants might regularly have done.^ 

1 Col. Bees. L 153. • /6ul. IM, 195. 

« /6W. 205. * Ibid. 404 ; Arnold, I. 270. 

^ It ordered the attorney-general to present the offences of one Anthony 
Parrant ; to order the arrest and trial of Pnmham and other Indians alleged 
to be guilty of riot, and of still other Indians who were charged with robbery 
at Pawtuxet. It also provided for pnbllshing the proclamation of Richard 
Cromwell as Lord Protector. 



The reasonable inference would seem to be that we have in CHAP, 
these entries a fragment of the records of the magistrates as 
an executive board. Whether or not that be true, one 
should not infer from the absence of such records that 
Providence Plantations had no executive. The fact rather 
would be that they kept no records of administrative action, 
or, if they did keep them, they have been lost. The same is 
true to a considerable extent of the other corporate colonies, 
and we are left in the same position with reference to them 
all as that we should have occupied in the case of Massachu- 
setts if Governor Winthrop had not written his Journal. 

As in the other corporate colonies, the assembly of Provi- 
dence Plantations kept resorting to committees for the per- 
formance of executive duties, like those which might have 
fallen to a board of assistants. In 1655 a committee was 
appointed to treat with the Narragansett sachems, because 
the latter contrary to agreement had deprived the inhab- 
itants of Rhode Island of the use of grass on ^ Conanicut. 
The same year a committee was appointed to consider how 
to prevent the sale of ammunition to the Indians. Treaties 
with the natives were usually negotiated by such committees.^ 
Committees were frequently chosen to frame letters to be 
sent to England or to the other colonies.' In 1657 a com- 
mittee was appointed to take the bonds of William Harris 
and his son to perform the orders of the court concerning 
the charge of high treason which had been preferred against 
him.^ In 1660 a committee was instructed to maturely con- 
sider the purchase of Narragansett territory by men from 
Massachusetts and to report thereon ; a little later another 
was selected to treat with the purchasers.^ In 1661 a com- 
mittee was appointed to raise money in the towns to send to 
John Clarke, the agent in England, and in 1663 another com- 
mittee was engaged on the same subject.^ Not infrequently 
also committees were chosen to audit the accounts of offi- 
cials ;7 occasionally also to consider petitions before the 

1 Col. Reca. I. 319. » Ibid. 429, 436. 

3 Ibid. 320, 328. « Col. Recs. L 448, 606. 

> Ibid. 321, 420-421, 433, 438, 448, 468, 496. f Ibid, 331, 339, 340, 366, 368, 442. 

♦ Ibid. 866. 

V ^ / 


PART assembly and formulate a course of action upon them.^ Com- 
mittees also continued to be a prominent feature in Rhode 
Island government after 166,4. 

Unity in the colony, so far as it had been attained, was 
soon interrupted. William Coddington, as the leading 
representative of the aristocratic tendencies^ which existed 
at Newport, had for some time been planning the separation 
of the islan(f from the mainland settlements. Not only in 
1644, but in 1648, the year after the union of the Narragan- 
sett towns had been effected, he had proposed an alliance 
of the island with the United Colonies^ of New England. But 
the commissioners refused to agree to the proposal, unless 
the island came in as a part either of Plymouth or of Massa- 
chusetts. After the second refusal Coddington resolved to 
carry his demand to England, and, if possible, to secure a 
commission as proprietary governor of the island. This 
plan was promptly executed.* With the assistance, it has 
been conjectured, of Hugh Peters, Coddington, in April, 
1651, procured a life commission to govern Rhode Island 
and Conanicut. It empowered him to administer the law, 
to raise forces for defence, and upon nominations by the free- 
holders of the towns to appoint not more than six councillors 
and tender the engagement both to them and to the electors. 
In order to procure this commission Coddington represented 
himself as the discoverer and purchaser of the two islands 
involved, a statement in which he was as much in error as 
he was in his estimate of the reception with which his move 
was likely to meet from his fellow-colonists. 

It is true that the colony government had resulted from a 
union of the people of the four towns, established under a 
charter which was merely permissive. It was a federation 
w;hich had originated in the consent of the parties who 
formed it. It had existed but a few years, and was beset by 
many perils. It was of course possible that the union might 
be broken and the parts fall asunder. But, if they did so, 

1 Col. Recs. 473. « Richman, II. 4. « Plymouth Recs. IX. 23, 110. 

* 4 Mass. Hist. CoU. VI. 321 ; VU. 281 ; Colonial Papers, 1579-1660 ; 
Turner, William Coddington in Colonial Affairs, R. I. Hist Tracts, No. 4 ; 
Richman, II. 10 et seq. 


it was not at all likely that the people would willingly sub- CHAP, 
mit to a proprietary system in any form. Their spirit and ^^^• 
tendencies were as strongly opposed to a government of that 
type as it is possible to conceive. Of the truth of this 
Coddington received a vivid impression as soon as he 
returned to Rhode Island. 

The immediate effect of Coddington's act was to separate 
the colony again into two parts. Two commissioners' courts 
met, one for Providence and Warwick and the other for 
Newport and Portsmouth, the former holding the larger 
number of sessions.^ This situation continued from No- 
vember, 1651, until May, 1654. Massachusetts and Plymouth 
now revived before the Commissioners of the United Colo- 
nies the question of again asserting their claims^ to Nar- 
ragansett territory, a subject which had been allowed to 
sleep since Williams had procured his charter. The legality 
of sessions held by commissioners from Providence and 
Warwick alone was quite open to attack, and the colony 
seemed to be in imminent peril of dissolution. 

But the proposal to accept Coddington as governor of 
Rhode Island on a life tenure found few supporters. The 
mainland towns were, of course, a unit in opposition to it. 
Williams was sent to England as their agent to procure a 
confirmation of the charter. John Clarke was also sent as 
the agent of the opposition in the island towns to procure 
the recall of Coddington's commission. On the island 
meetings were held by the opponents of Coddington, and 
an attempt was made to break up a court which he was 
holding. So hard beset was Coddington that he even in- 
trigued with the Dutch to procure soldiers to aid him in 
subduing the opposition on Rhode Island.^ So strong did 
that opposition become that Coddington found it expedient 
to retire to Boston, where, in the spring of 1652, he signed 
a paper sui'rendering the Indian deed of Rhode Island to the 
purchasers, and admitting that he had no more share in 
the purchase than did the rest of his associates.^ Before the 

1 R. L Col. Recs. I. 233-273. « Plymouth Recs. IX. 170, 218. 

« N. Y. CoL Doc& I. 497 ; 4 Mass. Hist. ColL VIL 283. 
* Tomer, in R. L Hist Tracts, No. 4, p. 23. 



PART close of the same year the agents, assisted by Sir Henry 
J Vane, had successfully overcome such influence as the 
friends of Coddington were able to exert in England, and 
had procured a recall of the commission. Early in 1653 
efforts toward the reuniting of the colony began on the 
part of the mainland towns. Providence and Warwick 
empowered commissioners^ to meet with representatives 
from the island, for the purpose of reestablishing the gov- 
ernment of the colony. But for a long time no response 
came. During the interval the war between England and 
the Netherlands broke out, and the settlements on the island 
issued commissions to Captain Underbill, William Dyer, and 
Edward Hull to prey on the Dutch. A court of admiralty 
was established for the trial of prizes.* Privateers from 
Rhode Island operated in Long Island Sound. At this the 
mainland towns were much disturbed, because they feared 
it would involve them in an offensive war with the Dutch. 
The town of Warwick forbade its inhabitants to join the 
French or Dutch, and disfranchised John Warner because 
he, as the result of a quarrel with the town, invited Massa- 
chusetts to assume jurisdiction.^ 

In May, 1654, the four towns united once more in a general 
court of election.* But the appointment by this body of a 
committee to prepare " some course concerning our dissent- 
ing friends" would indicate that all were not reconciled. 
Of this committee Williams, who had now returned from 
England, was a member. In the following August the 
union was fully restored. They agreed to resume govern- 
ment under the charter,^ with the existing body of laws, and 
to allow the acts done by the towns separately during the 
interval to retain their validity in the localities for which 
they were intended. On September 12th a court of election 
was held at Warwick by which officers were chosen to hold 
till the next spring. Williams was chosen president at this 
time and also at the succeeding spring election. Now Will- 
iams appears more distinctly than formerly as a leader of 

1 R. I. Col. Recs. I. 268. « R. L Col. Recs. L 273. 

2 Ibid, 266, 270, 271. » Ibid. 276 at «eg. 
« Ma. Recs. of Warwick. 


the colony. The Protectorate in England was fully acknowl- CHAP. 

edged, and an engagement of obedience to it was ordered ,^ '^ 

to be administered to the inhabitants by the town officers ; ^ 
a letter of warning against internal dissensions was received 
from Oliver Protector, under the influence of which an 
order was issued that those found to be ringleaders of fac- 
tion should be sent to England for trial before the Protec- 
tor and Council. In 1656 Coddington made full submission 
before the general assembly to the " authoritie of his High- 
ness in this Colonic as it is now united." ^ He at that time 
took his seat as commissioner from Newport. A committee 
of investigation reported favorably on his conduct, and it 
was recommended that a letter be sent to the agent in Eng- 
land giving reasons for receiving his submission, and asking 
that the charges against him, which were pending before the 
Council of State, be dismissed.* Coddington also resigned 
his Indian deeds and other records into the keeping of the 
settlers of Rhode Island. Thus his great plan was totally 
abandoned, and the peril which had seemed to threaten 
the union of the Narragansett towns from that quarter 

Boundary disputes furnished another perennial cause of 
disturbance to the Narragansett settlements. To all colonies 
which had no charters or other guaranties from the crown the 
question of boundary was a vital one. Unless boundaries 
could be determined and maintained by peaceful agreement 
with neighbors, separate existence was seriously imperilled. 
Because of its location and of the friendly feeling which for 
the most part existed between it and Massachusetts, Con- 
necticut experienced little difficulty of this kind. The 
most serious menace to her territorial integrity came from 
the Dutch and later from New York. But New Haven, 
because she had no charter, or bounds which had been rec- 
ognized by mutual agreement, was absorbed by Connecticut. 
The question between the two was largely a territorial one. 
The Narragansett settlements seemed for a time to be ex- 
posed to even greater peril from this cause than did New 

1 R. L Col. Recs. I. 305, 310, 318. « IbiA, 827. 

< Ihid, 328, 332 ; Arnold, I. 250. 


PART Haven. As Connecticut had enclosed New Haven, so 
they were surrounded by Plymouth, Massachusetts, and 
Connecticut. The bounds of none of those colonies had 
been definitely settled, and they all were eager to secure 
territory on the shores of Narragansett bay. In conse- 
quence of the submission of Arnold and his friends to Mas- 
sachusetts, that colony appointed justices of the peace for 
their territory, and sixteen years passed before her claim to 
control over them was abandoned. What occurred in this 
instance might also occur in others. Boundary disputes 
occupy a larger place in the history of Rhode Island than in 
that of any other colony. 

The efforts to settle the eastern boundary of Connecticut and 
the southern boundary of Massachusetts occasioned the most 
serious struggle, and this* involved the question of the right 
to the Narragansett country. This tribe with its dependents 
occupied all of the territory of the modern state of Rhode 
Island west of Narragansett bay. The boundary of the re- 
gion on the southwest was the Pawcatuck river. To the 
westward, but originally extending a short distance to the 
east of the Pawcatuck, lay the Pequot country. To this 
region both Connecticut and Massachusetts, after the Pequot 
war, laid claim by right of conquest. Connecticut, after 
she had bought out Fenwick, claimed also by patent and 
purchase, and began to settle the region. 

During the conflict with the Pequot tribe, the Narra- 
gansetts aided the English. Roger Williams, as early as 
1634 and 1635, established friendly relations with the chiefs 
of the Narragansetts and, as we have seen, made from them 
his purchases. Both before and after the Pequot war 
Massachusetts frequently negotiated with the Narragansett 
sachems, but never gained their friendship. The degree 
of success which she had with them was largely due to 
the mediation and aid of Williams. When, soon after 
the Pequot war, the feud between the Mohegans and the 
Narragansetts developed, in which Uncas and Miantonomi 
were leaders, the English of the United Colonies adopted 
decisively the cause of the Mohegans. Williams, Gorton, 
and their associates of the Narragansett settlements always 


sympathized with Miantonomi. The animosity which Mas- CHAP, 
sachusetts showed toward Gorton and that which she felt . ^^^ 
toward the Narragansett chief had a related origin. With 
her crusade against them both was involved a desire to 
secure influence among the Narragansett Indians and also 
territory within the region which they inhabited. 

Through the settlement of Warwick the Narragansett 
colonists were the first to secure a foothold within the 
country west of the bay. From their settlement Massachu- 
setts was not able to dislodge them. Soon after 1640 Rich- 
ard Smith, who removed from Taunton in Plymouth colony, 
bought a tract from the Indians at Wickford, some distance 
south of Shawomet. There he built a house and took up his 
permanent residence. With him Williams was from the 
first somewhat closely associated, and later he too built a 
trading house in the same region. These houses were near 
the old Pequot path, which skirted the shore from the 
vicinity of Providence round to the former home of the 

Early in 1657 a company, consisting of Samuel Wilbore 
and three associates from Newport, and John Hull, the 
mintmaster from Boston, bought a track just north of Point 
Judith, which was known as the Pettiquamscott Purchase. 
In October, 1658, the general court of Massachusetts, in the 
prosecution of its plan to occupy a part of the Pequot 
country, declared a small settlement which had been made 
just west of the Pawcatuck to be a plantation with the name 
of Southertown (now Stoningfton), and annexed it to Suf- 
folk county. Special commissioners and a constable were 
appointed to administer it.^ These events seemed to threaten 
the peace of the Narragansett towns. Therefore, in Novem- 
ber, 1658, the assembly passed an act forbidding any one 
to introduce a foreigii jurisdiction, or to put his lands under 
the government of any other colony, under pain of confis- 

But this did not check the encroachments of Massachusetts 
parties within the Narragansett country. In 1659 the 
Atherton company was formed, consisting of Humphrey 
1 Mass. Recs. lY*. 363. * B. I. CoL Recs. I. 401. 


PART Atherton, John Winthrop, Jr., Edward Hutchinson, Jr., 
^ J Richard Smith, and others, largely Massachusetts men. 

This company bought a large tract north of the Pettiquam- 
scott Purchase, and adjoining Richard Smithes estate. Rhode 
Island protested against this before the Commissioners of the 
United Colonies, but without result. In 1660, as security 
for the payment of a heavy fine which had been imposed by 
the Commissioners of the United Colonies because of out- 
rages which had been committed by certain of the Niantics, 
the chiefs mortgaged to the Atherton company all of the 
unsold land in the Narragansett country.^ If the company 
was not reimbursed in two years for their outlay, the land was 
to be fully conveyed to it. The actual transfer was made 
in 1662. 

Meantime the Narragansett settlements bought from the 
Indians, under the name of the Westerly Purchase, land a 
part of which lay in Southertown, and began to settle it. 
In October, 1661,* three of the settlers in Westerly were 
arrested by the order of Massachusetts, and two of them 
were taken to Boston. There they were fined and imprisoned 
till the fine should be paid, and were then required to give 
bonds of j£100 each to keep the peace. In the course of its 
correspondence over this affair the Massachusetts government 
reasserted the claim under its alleged charter from the com- 
missioners of parliament to ^^all that tract of land from 
Pequot River to Plymouth line." She warned all the Rhode 
Island settlers to withdraw, or they would be arrested. But 
Rhode Island replied with a similar demand upon Massachu- 
setts settlers in the region and denied that the Pequot 
country extended east of the Pawcatuck. She also insisted 
that the Atherton purchasers should submit to her jurisdic- 
tion. When we remember that Connecticut was also claim- 
ing the entire region which was thus f^ dispute, it will be 
seen that the situation was becoming complex. The claims 
of Massachusetts and Connecticut were also supported by 
the Commissioners of the United Colonies against any steps 

1 B. L Col. Recs. L 464, 466. 

s Col. Recs. I. 466, 461 ; Arnold, I. 277 ; Potter, in Colls. R. I. Hist. Soc. 
m. 241 e( Mg. 


which Rhode Island could take. The danger that the Narra- CHAP, 
gansett settlements would lose all west of the bay thus be- ^ 
came imminent. 

The situation was to an extent cleared by the issue of the 
Connecticut charter. By fixing the eastern boundary of 
that colony at Narragansett bay, Massachusetts was excluded, 
and she soon retired from the race. The Atherton com- 
pany, on being offered the choice of submitting to the Nar- 
ragansett settlements or to Connecticut, of course without 
hesitation chose the latter, ponnecticut named the planta- 
tion of the Atherton patentees Wickford, and appointed 
magistrates for it, the first in the list of whom was Richard 

But the provision of the Connecticut charter relating to 
the boundary made it especially imperative that the Narra- 
gansett settlements should secure a guaranty of equal 
strength. Their agent, John Clarke, was instructed to 
offer a resignation of the existing charter^ and to procure a 
grant from the crown. Attention was called to the joy with 
which the colonists about Narragansett bay had welcomed 
the Restoration and to their speedy acknowledgment of sub- 
mission to the king. By agreement between Winthrop and 
Clarke in England,^ a clause was introduced into the Rhode 
Island charter specifying that the Pawcatuck river should 
be the boundary between the two colonies, any provision in 
the earlier patent of Connecticut to the contrary notwith- 
standing. The western boundary of Rhode Island was com- 
pleted by a line drawn due north from the source of that 
river to Massachusetts. On the east the boundary should 
be the shore of Narragansett bay and Seekonk river, to Paw- 
tucket falls, and thence a line extending due north to the 
Massachusetts bounds. All adjacent islands, including Block 
island, were madeiMpart of the colony. 

Except in minurodetails, the provisions of the charter re- 
lating to government were the same as those of the Connecti- 
cut patent. In deference to the opinions of the colonists, 
and to the reasons for their establishing a distinct colony, as 
set forth in Clarke's petitions, the following notable clause 

1 CoL Bees. I. 486. « Ibid. 618. 

VOL. I — 2 B 



guarantying religious freedom was introduced : "Noe per- 
son within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee 
anywise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in ques- 
tion for any differences in opinione in matters of religion, 
and (he) doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd 
colony ; but that all and everye person and persons may, 
from tyme to tyme, . . . freelye and f ullye have and enjoy 
his and theire own judgments and consciences in matters 
of religious concernments; . . . they behaving themselves 
peaceablie and quietlie, and not useing libertie to lycentious- 
nesse and profanenesse, nor to the civill injurye or outward 
disturbance of others ; any lawe, statute, or clause therein 
contayned, or to be contayned, usage or custome of this 
realme, to the contrary hereof, in anywise, notwithstand- 

The charter was received by a general assembly at New- 
port in March, 1664, and put into force. Such laws as were 
inconsistent with it were repealed. Among them were the 
laws requiring that measures should be submitted by the 
general court to the towns for approval. 

^ R. I. Col. Reos. n. 6. 




In an earlier chapter the history of the enterprises of CHAP. 
Gorges and Mason as proprietors in New England has been 
traced. Reference was made to their connection with the 
New England council, to the various patents which were 
issued to them by that body, and to the efforts they made to 
establish permanent colonies. The Laconia company, their 
largest and most promising undertaking, proved a failure. 
The death of John Mason completed for the time the ruin of 
their hopes on the Piscataqua. Though Gorges survived 
and procured a royal charter for his province of Maine, his 
energy and resources were not equal to the tasks of coloniz- 
ing and governing it. The struggle between king and par- 
liament in England soon diverted his attention ; he entered 
the royal service, while his interests in New England were 
allowed to slumber. His peace was later made with parlia- 
ment, but, being already an old man, he did not survive 
beyond the spring of the year 1647. 

The failure of Mason and Gorges to establish and maintain 
an effective control over their provinces, and the death of 
the former before he had secured through a royal charter the 
necessary rights of government, left a number of small and 
scattered settlements on that coast destitute of a superior 
tribunal to which their differences could be referred for ad- 
justment. Upon the Piscataqua were Strawberry Bank, — 
which was soon to be known as Portsmouth, — Dover, and 
Exeter. Beyond the Piscataqua lay a number of petty out- 
posts, of which the most important were Saco and a settle- 
ment on the neck where now the city of Portland is situated. 
The interests and relations which existed on the Piscataqua 
first demand attention. 



PART Above Mason's settlement at Strawberry Bank, which was 
^ • J Anglican and proprietary in character, developed the settle- 
ment at Hilton's Point. This in course of time became 
Dover. The date of its origin and the location of the grant 
from the New England council upon which it developed are 
still to an extent matters of controversy.^ This is due in 
part to uncertainty as to the stream or body of water which 
constitutes the upper course of the Piscataqua river, in part 
also to the obscurity which attaches to descriptions of boun- 
dary and location in all ancient deeds. Tradition, moreover, 
has it that Edward Hilton, with a few associates, began a 
settlement on Hilton's Point or Dover neck as early as 1623. 
Nearly all of the authorities accept this as true, though no 
trace appears of the existence or progress of the settlement 
between that date and 1628 or 1630. In March, 1630, the 
same Edward Hilton, a communicant of the English Church 
and by trade a fishmonger, procured an indenture from the 
New England council for land on Dover neck, and gave as a 
reason for the grant the fact that he and his associates, at 
their own expense, had already built houses and planted com 
there, and intended to do more.* The words describing the 
location of the grant are, " all that part of the River Piscata- 
quack called or known by the name Wecanacohunt or Hil- 
ton's Point, with the south side of the said River up to the 
fall of the River, and three miles into the Maine Land by 
all the breadth aforesaid." 

About the location of Hilton's Point there can be no doubt. 
It lies at the upper extremity of the main course of the 
Piscataqua river, between it and Back river, Oyster river, 
and Little bay, which in turn expands into Great bay. 
The latter is fed by Lamprey river and Exeter or Squamscot 
river. But both Little bay and Great bay are tidal inlets, 
which at ebb are left exposed as mud flats. The main body of 

^ Jenness, Notes on the first Planting of New Hampshire ; Quint, Histori- 
cal Memoranda of Dover, edited by Scales ; Thompson, Landmarks of 
Ancient Dover ; Charles Deane on Thompson's Patent, Proceedings of Mass. 
Hist. Soc. 1876; N. H. Prov. Papers, I. 118, 157. 

3 N. E. Historical and Grenealogical Register, XXIV. 264 ; Jenness, Notes, 



water by which the Piscataqua in its lower course is steadily CHAP, 
fed flows down the Salmon Falls river and over Quampegan ^' 
falls. That river flows more nearly in the same direction 
with the Piscataqua proper than do any of the other streams 
mentioned, and it has been traditionally accepted as the 
upper part of " the river " Piscataqua, and the boundary be- 
tween Maine and New Hampshire.^ If this description be 
true, the grant to Hilton lay wholly north of Little bay, and 
did not overlap the territory, the possession of which was 
confirmed to the Laconia company in 1631. We are told 
that Hilton sold ^^ this land '' to some merchants of Bristol, 
who had it in their possession for about two years ; but 
whether all the Hilton grant was then disposed of, or only a 
part of it, we are not informed.* 

The grant and confirmation of Pescataway to the Laconia 
company was issued, as we have seen, in November 1631, 
and was therefore later than the Hilton grant.* It com- 
prised the land on both sides of the main course of the Pis- 
cataqua, extending on the south bank to the upper part of 
Great bay, and on the north and east bank to a distance of 
thirty miles inland. The breadth of the northern strip was 
three miles.* The southern half of the grant comprised a 
large part of the present towns of Rye, Newington, and 
Greenland. If the Hilton grant was located wholly inland 
and north of Little bay, it and the Pescataway grant would 
at no point have overlapped. But the time soon came when 
the terms of the Hilton patent received a different interpre- 
tation. A short time after the issue of the Pescataway grant 
Captain Thomas Wiggin, a Puritan, became interested in the 
settlement at Hilton's Point. Hubbard states^ that he was 
the representative of certain adventurers from Shrewsbury 
in England. He also became, at a later time, a defender of 

^ Jenness, Notes, 60. 

2 Declaration of John Allen, Nicholas Shapleigh, and Thomas Lake, 
Farmer's Belknap, 436 ; N. H. Proy. Papers, I. 167. 

* In 1662 the general court of Massachusetts ordered that the northern 
bounds of Dover should extend westward four miles from the first falls of 
Newichwannock river. 

* Jenness, Docs, relating to New Hampshire, 10. 

* Hubbard, History of New England, 217 ; Tattle, John Mason, 69. 


the claim of Massachusetts to the entire region. At the time 
when Wiggin first appears, Captain Walter Neale was on the 
Piscataqua as the manager of the Laconia enterprise. He and 
Wiggin are reported to have nearly come to blows over their 
claims to the land on the south bank of the river immediately 
opposite Dover neck. Because of the threatened encounter, 
this tract has always gone by the name of Bloody Point. 

Not long after this event Wiggin went to England and 
induced Lord Say and Sele, Lord Brook, Sir Richard Sal- 
tonstall, and others, all Puritans, to form an association and 
buy out the Bristol merchants,^ or at least to secure an in- 
terest in their grant. The governors and magistrates of 
Massachusetts are said to have favored this step, because they 
feared " some ill neighborhood " from the Bristol men. The 
purchase was made, and in October, 1633, Wiggin returned 
as manager for the Puritan proprietors, bringing with him 
a "godly minister" named WUliam Leveridge. 

A conflict soon began between the Anglican and Puritan 
elements in the little settlement of Dover. Between the years 
1637 and 1640 Wiggin seems to have lost control. George 
Burdet, an Anglican clergyman of loose morals, was for a time 
the leader ^ of the opponents of Wiggin, and was elected as 
his successor in the magistracy. Then Captain John Under- 
bill, also of unsavory reputation in Massachusetts, and re- 
cently disfranchised there because of his adherence to the 
Antinomian faction, came to Dover. He was twice chosen 
"governor," and was instrumental in gathering a Baptist 
congregation, which chose Hanserd KnoUys as its minister. 

In 1640 forty-one inhabitants of the place signed a combi- 
nation or plantation covenant.* In this they stated that, for 
the purpose of escaping the mischiefs and inconveniences 
from which they had suffered because of their lack of 
powers of government, they united as a body politic. As 
a result of this they hoped more comfortably to enjoy the 
benefits of his Majesty's laws, together with those orders 

1 Farmer's Belknap, 436 ; N. H. Prov. Papers, 1. 157. 
s Belknap, History of New Hampshire, I. 40 et seq. ; N. H. Prov. Papers, 
I. 119. 

> Ihid. 126 ; Jenness, Docs. 37. 


which they themselves should adopt by majority vote, pro- CHAP, 
vided they were executed in the name of the king and were y ' j 
not inconsistent with the laws of England. They engaged 
to be true to this agreement until the king should otherwise 
command. Among the signers the name of Underbill appears, 
but not that of Wiggin. Francis Champernowne, a scion of 
the famous west of England family, was also one of the sign- 
ers, as were two Waldrons, a family which was long to hold 
a prominent place in the town. Thomas Larkham,^ whose 
name also appears in the list, was a minister who succeeded 
Burdet as the head of the Anglican party. Under his lead 
the quarrel became violent between the Anglican and Puritan 
parties in the little settlement. Underbill supported the 
latter. They were unable to unite in one church or to live 
peaceably as two. KnoUys undertook to excommunicate 
Larkham, and Larkham assaulted KnoUys. An attempt was 
made to arrest Underbill, whereupon he and his supporters 
paraded the streets with a Bible on a halberd as an ensign. 
Larkham then sent for Francis Williams, who was the leading 
magistrate at Strawberry Bank. He came and, sitting as 
judge, found Underbill and his associates guilty of riot. 
Some were heavily fined, while Underbill and others were 
ordered to depart from the plantation. 

While these dissensions were continuing at Dover, the 
town of Exeter was founded at the falls of the Squamscot 
or Exeter river, some distance above Great bay. This was 
the work of Rev. John Wheelwright, the Antinomian leader, 
and his followers.* In 1638 they extinguished the Indian 
title to the territory between the Merrimac river and the 
settlements on the Piscataqua. A church was founded, and 
in June, 1639, a civil compact was signed at Exeter, and 
rights of government were assumed under it. The obliga- 
tion of allegiance to England was frankly acknowledged, 
though " according to the libertys of our English Colony of 
the Massachusetts." The wording of the compact was later 
somewhat changed to suit those who desired a less pro- 
nounced acknowledgment of English supremacy; but this 
did not give perfect satisfaction. 

1 Winthrop, II. 32. « Bell, History of Exeter, 8 ; N. H. Prov. Papers, 1. 181. 


^ _ > 


PAKT In March, 1636, the general court of Massachusetts ordered 
that a bound house should be built and a plantation settled 
north of the Merrimac river. ^ This resulted in the settle- 
ment of Hampton, which in 1639 was made a town, with 
the usual officials and the right to send a deputy to the 
general court. As Hampton was located north of the three- 
mile limit beyond the Merrimac and was within the territory 
which Exeter had bought from the Indians, that town in 
1638 protested. But the general court of Massachusetts 
replied that it considered this protest ^^ as against good 
neighborhood, religion, and common honesty." The reason 
which it gave for so regarding the act revealed the theory 
concerning its northern bounds which Massachusetts had 
already adopted. It claimed Winicowett or Hampton "as 
within our patent or as vacuum domicilium^^^ and therefore 
had built the bound house north of the three-mile limit. 
Of this act and the claim from which it proceeded Wheel- 
wright and his associates were aware, and for that reason 
their protest seemed to the general court of Massachusetts 
to indicate bad faith. The people of Exeter were also 
informed by the court that the Indians had a natural right 
to only such land as they could improve, and that the rest 
of the country lay open to those who could and would im- 
prove it. 

When the royal charter was granted to the Massachusetts 
company, with the specification that it should possess all 
the lands lying within three English miles to the north of 
the Merrimac river, " or to the norward of any and every 
part thereof," it was supposed that, through its entire course, 
the Merrimac flowed in an easterly direction. The northern 
boundary of the colony would then follow the course of the 
river, to its source, though three miles to the northward of 
it, and thence extend in a straight line to the South sea. 
But before settlement had progressed far it was found that 
the source of the Merrimac was at a point much farther 
north than was supposed. While the controversy with 
Exeter was in progress ^ an investigation was begun, and it 

1 Mass. Recs. L 167, 206, 250 ; Wlnthrop, I. 340. 

2 Mass. Reos. L 237, 261 ; Winthrop, I. 365. 


resulted in the discovery that some parts of the river lay CHAP, 
north of 43^^ or about a degree and a half north of the ^ ^^' , 
lower course of the river. Later surveys, made in 1662 
and 1654, established the fact that the Merrimac took its 
rise in Lake Winnepiseogee, and that a line drawn due east 
from that point and three miles north of it, would reach the 
ocean in the latitude^ of Upper Clapboard island in Casco 
bay. This line was then declared by the general court to 
be, according to the patent, the northern boundary of the 
colony from the source of the Merrimac eastward. This 
assertion, however, is manifestly contradicted by all we 
know of the views and policy, both of the New England 
council and of the crown, at the time of the issue of the 
charter to Massachusetts. It was clearly an afterthought, 
and gave to the clause of the charter in question a meaning 
which was not contemplated at the time of its issue. It 
ignored all the acquired rights of Mason and Gorges, and 
involved what was more clearly an usurpation than was any 
later act of the crown which affected New England. In 
fact, it is doubtful if this can be paralleled by any event of 
a similar character in the history of the American colonies 
during the seventeenth century. 

But even this act of usurpation by Massachusetts carried 
with it an appearance of justification, and one, too, which 
was especially calculated to recommend it to the conscience 
of the Puritan and to his spiritual pride. The interests of 
the faith among the northern settlements needed support. 
Owing to the failure of their plans, both Mason and Gorges 
had left abortive proprietary provinces ; the local settlements 
were there, but either no executive or legislature existed to 
bind them together, or one that was inadequate for the pur- 
pose. They were left in isolation, rent and divided by con- 
troversies, and in danger of falling into anarchy. That this 
was the condition of the towns on the Piscataqua has already 
been shown, and it will appear that similar perils confronted 
the Maine settlements. The intervention of Massachusetts 
and the extension over them of its system of county and town 

1 Mass. Recs. IIL 274, 278, 288, 329, 861 ; Tattle, Captain John Mason, 94. 
The latitude was about 43"" 40'. 



PART goyernment furnished a reasonable guaranty of good order 

f among them until the right of the proprietors or the crown 

could again be asserted. 

The settlements on the Piscataqua were the first to be 
annexed by Massachusetts, and the immediate occasion for 
this was furnished by the events which have already been 
described. Mason was dead, the Laconia company had been 
dissolved ; the settlements were small, remote, and the resi- 
dents of Dover were at odds among themselves. They had 
no adequate institutions or powers of government. In 1633 
the magistrates of Massachusetts had been requested to try 
cases which had arisen on the Piscataqua, but they had then 
declined to assume jurisdiction. Early in 1641 ^ Simon Brad- 
street, with two of the ministers, Peters and Dalton, were sent 
by Massachusetts to Dover to mediate between the factions of 
KnoUys and Larkham. KnoUys, being found guilty of im- 
moral conduct in the settlement, was forced to depart. Un- 
derbill also soon removed to Stamford in New Haven colony. 
Quiet was thus restored. Agreements were then reached with 
Edward Hilton and with Williams of the lower plantation, 
in consequence of which they made no opposition to the step 
which was now to be taken. The patentees of Dover who 
were ^ resident in England, seem also to have surrendered their 
rights, with certain reservations of land, to Massachusetts. 

On June 14, 1641, George Willis and others, on behalf of 
Lords Say, Brook, and the other grantees of the Hilton 
patent,^ made a full submission to Massachusetts, and agreed 
to be governed by its laws. But in this paper reference is 
for the first time made to a second grant, over which Willis 
and his associates seem to have had control, and for which 
also they made submission. This is called the Squamscot * 
patent and was located on the south bank of the Piscataqua, 
extending as far inland as Squamscot or Exeter falls, and 
having a breadth of three miles. It therefore included all, 
or nearly all, of that part of the Pescataway Confirmation 

1 Mass. Recs. L 332 ; Winthrop, II. 34 ; Jenness, Notes, 48. 
3 Mass. Recs. I. 332. 

• N. H. Prov. Papers, I. 166, 169. 

* Ibid, 221 ; 3 Mass. Archives, 462 ; Jenness, Notes. 


which lay south of the river ; in other words, it comprised CHAP, 
much of the territory which had belonged to the Laconia >^_*_y 
company. Later documents show that some families from 
Dover had settled on Bloody Point, but they were only 
squatters, being able to urge no claim save that originating 
in purchase from the Indians and in possession.^ 

Among the extant records of the New England council 
appears no reference to a Squamscot patent. These records^ 
however, are not complete, and for that reason it cannot be 
absolutely affirmed that such a grant was not issued. So 
many references to it appear in the proceedings of the time, 
that it is manifestly rash to affirm that it was an invention 
of Massachusetts. The rights which existed under it, what- 
ever they were, seem to have belonged to Lords Say and 
Brook and their associates. They were the parties who made 
the submission to Massachusetts in 1641, rese^ving to them- 
selves one-third of the land in the Dover patent and the 
whole of the Squamscot patent ; simply putting it under 
the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. The political effect of 
the extension of the claim was important, for it brought a 
part of the former territory of the Laconia company, includ- 
ing Strawberry Bank, more directly under Puritan control. 
In 1656, by order of the general court of Massachusetts,^ a 
division of the land within the Squamscot patent was made 
between Wiggin, the town of Dover, and the survivors of 
the Shrewsbury and Bristol men who had been its earlier 
patentees. Wiggin, with Lake, one of his associates, then 
surrendered to Dover all the land, except sixteen acres, which 
they claimed within its limits. 

Though Exeter had not yet made submission, the act of 
October 9, 1641, by which Massachusetts annexed Dover,* 
referred to the Piscataqua as being within its bounds and the 
inhabitants on that river as under its government. The au- 
thority of Massachusetts courts was extended over them, and 
a commission was appointed to hold courts there with the 
jurisdiction of a county court, and with power to temporarily 
appoint local magistrates. Two deputies should be sent 

^ N. H. ProY. Papers, L 176, 176; Jeimess, Notes, 61 et 8eq. 
s Ibid. 221-224. « Ibid. 158-161. 


V ^ / 


PART from the whole river to the general court at Boston, though 
the next year it was provided that each town should send one 
deputy. Exemption was granted from all except local charges. 
It was also agreed that for no cases of debt involving less than 
jElOO should parties be compelled to plead before courts out- 
side of Norfolk county. In September, 1642, the requirement 
that representatives to the general court should be church 
members was suspended for these settlements.^ 

Early in 1643 the inhabitants of Exeter petitioned Mas- 
sachusetts, but the document has not been preserved. The 
reply of Massachusetts was in substance that, since Exeter 
lay within their patent, "the Court took it ill they 
should Capitulate with them." Soon after, in May, 1643, 
Exeter again petitioned, asking that their bounds toward 
Hampton and toward Wiggin's farm down the river might 
be settled, and that local justices might be appointed. In the 
following September Exeter was formally received as a part 
of the county of Norfolk. It now became subject to the con- 
ditions of annexation which applied to Dover, though it was 
not granted the right to send a deputy^ to the general court. 
Mr. Wheelwright then removed to Wells, which lay within 
the jurisdiction of Gorges. But later, having acknowledged 
his fault and gone through the form of submission, he was 
pardoned by Massachusetts and allowed to return within her 
bounds, where he became minister first of the church at 
Hampton and afterwards of that at Salisbury.^ 

While Massachusetts, through orders and commissions, 
carried on during the next twenty years the general busi- 
ness of the settlements on the Piscataqua, her influence was 
of course exerted for the extension and strengthening of 
Puritanism in that region. The control of the Puiitan party 
in Dover was fully established at the time of annexation. 
Hampton and Exeter were Puritan from the beginning, 
though at the outset the strength of the adherents of Wheel- 
wright made it undesirable to grant Exeter representation 

1 N. H. Prov. Papers, I. 161, 184, 187. 
» Ibid. 168, 170, 171 ; Bell, History of Exeter, 44. 

* N. H. ProY. Papers, L*174 ; Winthrop, II. 196 ; Earmer^s Belknap, 32, 
83 n. 


in the general court. The inhabitants of Strawberry Bank CHAP, 
were mainly Anglicans, and in that locality centred the in- ^ , 

terests of the Mason family. Though from the outset the 
two upper settlements were treated as towns, more than a 
decade passed before Strawberry Bank received that honor. 
In 1643, because the commissioners who had been appointed 
to lay out the bounds between Dover and Strawberry Bank 
had not considered the latter to be a town and had not been 
accurate in their surveys, the general court ordered a reconsid- 
eration of the case.^ The land in dispute was Bloody Point, 
and its inhabitants, who had removed thither from Dover, 
asked that they might not be separated from that town. 
After hearing the arguments of both sides, the court ad- 
judged the land to belong to Dover. 

In 1651 the inhabitants of Strawberry Bank petitioned to 
be made a town and to have two courts annually, presided 
over by resident magistrates. Some of the people were also 
reported to be planning withdrawal from Massachusetts con- 
trol. In response to this demand their bounds were ex- 
tended toward Hampton, and three resident magistrates 
were appointed, with the authority to hold a court. In 1653 
they petitioned for the privilege of voting for magistrates of 
the colony, that their militia officers might be confirmed, 
and additional jurisdiction given to their local magistrates. 
The petition concerning the militia officers was granted, but 
as to the other points, the petitioners were told to be content 
with what they had received at the time of annexation. 
Another petition for extension of bounds failed to meet 
with a favorable^ response. The settlement, however, was 
permitted to call itself Portsmouth, and was referred to as a 
town. But these references make it evident that discontent 
was felt in Portsmouth during the period of Massachusetts 
rule, and that perhaps the majority of its inhabitants were 
ready to welcome the Restoration. 

In 1651 ^ Joseph Mason, who had been sent over by Anne 
Mason, the widow of the late proprietor, to take charge of her 
affairs, appeared on the Piscataqua. He had power of attor- 

1 N. H. Prov. Papers, I. 172-176. a Ibid. 206, 207. 

* Jenness, N. H. Docs. 78 ; Tuttle, John Mason, 92. 


ney to hold and dispose of goods and lands. One Richard 
Leader,^ who had been superintendent of the iron works at 
Lynn, had occupied some of Mason's lands on the Newich- 
wannock and had built a saw-mill there. Joseph Mason 
brought suit for trespass against him, and the case came before 
the general court of Massachusetts. It was as a step prepar- 
atory to the trial of this case that the location of the boun- 
dary line between the source of the Merrimac river and the 
ocean was determined. The court decided that Mason had 
territorial rights at Newichwannock, and that land propor- 
tioned to his disbursements be laid off there for his heirs. 
Joseph Mason then complained that encroachments had 
been made on the rights of the family by settlers at Straw- 
berry Bank and elsewhere, and he desired justice against 
them ;^ but there is no record that Massachusetts noticed 
this petition. Mason then posted notices at Portsmouth, 
Dover, and Exeter protesting against the conduct of Massa- 
chusetts toward those settlements, and forbidding grass or 
timber to be cut in that region without license from him. 
But he received no effective support from any quarter, and 
was able to accomplish nothing until after the Restoration. 
In 1655 Anne Mason died, leaving Robert Tufton Mason as 
her executor and sole heir of the estate. In 1659, as soon 
as Richard Cromwell resigned the office of Protector, Mason, 
with Edward Godfrey and Ferdinando Gorges, began peti- 
tioning parliament for relief. 

Controversies also existed among the settlements to the 
north of the Piscataqua, which gave even more direct occa- 
sion for the interference of Massachusetts than did any that 
led to the establishment of her control south of that river. In 
a previous chapter reference has been made to the multipli- 
cation of grants along that coast and also to the beginning of 
proprietary government within the region that for a short time 
was known as New Somersetshire, but which under the royal 
charter of 1639 became the province of Maine. Members of 
the Gorges family were sent over in succession as governors, 

1 Emanuel Downing gives most information concerning him in letters to 
John Winthrop, Jr., 4 Mass. Hist. Colls. VI. 61, 76. 

> Jenness, N. H. Docs. 88, 40 ; Tattle, John Mason, 06. 


and commissioners were selected to assist them. Courts CHAP, 
were held at Saco, and at Agamenticus or York. The latter ^ ^' , 
settlement, under the name of Gorgeana, with a city char- 
ter and territory enough to make it a proper residence for a 
bishop, was intended to be the capital of the province.^ But 
while Sir Ferdinando, already an old man and with impaired 
fortune, was still busy with his plans, the civil disturbances 
began in Scotland and England. While they were in prog- 
ress he died. His relatives had already withdrawn from 
the province. Richard Vines, succeeded in 1645 by Henry 
Josselyn, continued to administer government in Gorges's 
interest at Saco, while at York Edward Godfrey lived and 
acted as senior councillor, as mayor, and from 1649 as an elec- 
tive governor under a " combination " which was made when 
the inhabitants found it no longer possible to secure aid or 
guidance from the family of the proprietor. In this way ^ two 
districts or germinal counties appear within the province, the 
Kennebunk river being the boundary between them. Though 
not distinctly named, the westernmost of the two was often 
called York, while to the easternmost the term Somerset was 
sometimes applied. 

The grantees within the region whose relations affected 
most closely the events which follow, were Robert Trelawny 
and George Cleeve. The former was a merchant of ancient 
and distinguished family, who lived near Plymouth in Eng- 
land.^ In 1631 he, with Moses Goodyear, also of Plymouth, 
received from the New England council a grant of Rich- 
mond's island, and a tract on the adjoining mainland, being 
a part of Cape Elizabeth. According to the terms of the 
patent this was to extend inland as far as did a grant of 
fifteen hundred acres which had recently been made to 
Thomas Cammock.* Cammock's grant lay on the west side 
of the Spurwink river at Black Point, adjoining that of 
Trelawny. Trelawny's grant, according to the wording of 
his patent, lay between Cammock's land and ^^ the bay and 

^ Baxter, Gorges and Maine, I. 173-187 ; Hazard, Hist Colls. L 470 et 9eq, 
3 Williamson, History of Maine, I. 286. 

* Documentary History of Maine, IIL, The Trelawny Papers. 

* Ibid. 4, 10. 


river of Casco." This phrase could only have meant that 
part of Casco bay which is adjacent to Cape Elizabeth. 

John Winter was sent over with servants as Trelawny's 
agent. A trading and fishing station of some importance 
was established on Richmond's island, and land was cul- 
tivated to an extent. The correspondence between the 
agent and his employer in England, which has been pre- 
served,^ affords a detailed picture of the fishing operations, 
which were the main concern of the settlers ; and also of a 
small trade in skins with the natives and the raising of swine 
and Indian com for food. Several vessels were employed in 
bringing supplies from Europe to the plantation and in carry- 
ing its commodities to the English markets. Some of these 
ships were of considerable size for the time, and details 
of their arrivals and departures and cargoes have been 
preserved. A bark for use in the fishery was built in the 
settlement. About fifty persons were employed on the plan- 
tation and in the fishery, all with a very few exceptions being 
men without families. It was a typical fishing station and 
plantation, of which there were many examples along the 
coast of northern New England. 

While Winter was agent he claimed both banks of the 
Spurwink river through a part of its course, and this 
caused a dispute with Cammock. In 1636, during a visit 
of Winter to England, Trelawny's patent was enlarged by 
a grant from Gorges of a strip of land containing two 
thousand acres and extending inland from the sea, just 
west of Cammock's grant, as far as Casco river.^ By the 
latter term was meant the tide-water inlet which forms 
the northwestern extension of the present Portland harbor. 

About the time when Trelawny obtained his first patent, 
George Cleeve and Richard Tucker settled on the mainland 
near Richmond's island,^ but had no valid title. As Winter 
was a harsh man and one who was not slow to assert the 
claims of his principal, he and Cleeve soon fell out. Cleeve 
also possessed a large amount of the resource which is so 
necessary to the squatter on the border of the wilderness. 

1 Documentary History of Maine, IIL 22 et seq, ^ Ibid. 131. 

' Baxter, George Cleeve, in Pubs, of Grorges Society, 26 et aeq. 



Considering his interests imperilled by the grant to Tre- CHAP, 
lawny of the two thousand acre strip, he soon visited England, 
where he was able to say a good word for the Puritans of 
Massachusetts before Archbishop Laud, and to obtain from 
Gorges a grant of the neck on which the city of Portland is 
now situated and the land extending northward of that to the 
Presumpscot river. ^ Tucker was also his partner in this 
grant. Cleeve moreover procured from Sir Ferdinando 
what purported to be a joint commission for Governor 
Winthrop of Massachusetts, himself, and others, to govern 
that part of New Somersetshire which lay between Cape 
Elizabeth and Sagadahoc.^ But the Massachusetts authori- 
ties were not certain as to its validity, and concluded not to 
intermeddle. This, however, with other acts of his, showed 
that Cleeve was anxious to secure Puritan support for his 
ambitious schemes. 

When Winter learned that . Cleeve and Tucker had ob- 
tained their grant and also that charges against him, and 
against Vines, Godfrey, and Purchase, because of support 
they had given him, had been preferred before the Star 
Chamber, the feud was greatly intensified. Winter now 
claimed that the land which had been granted to Cleeve lay 
within the original grant to Trelawny and Goodyear, though 
it was always understood to extend back only a short dis- 
tance from the coast. Later, changing the form of his claim, 
he urged that by Casco river, which was the designation of 
the eastern boundary of the original grant to Trelawny, as 
well as that of the northern boundary of his two thousand 
acre grant, was meant the Presumpscot river. Thus on the 
one count or the other, or the two combined. Winter hoped to 
prove the invalidity of Cleeve's patent. Though the inter- 
pretation which he put upon the language of his own patents 
respecting bounds was clearly false, he supported it with 
great vigor. It was opposed with equal activity by Cleeve, 
and therefore events soon occurred which called loudly for 
the interposition of some superior power.^ The case under 

1 Baxter, Oeorge Cleeve, in Pubs, of Gorges Society, 217, 224. 
« Winthrop, I. 276. 

* Trelawny Papers, 226 et aeq.y 260 ; Baxter, George Cleeve, 01 et seq. 
VOL. I — 2 c 


different forms was twice heard before the court of Governor 
Thomas Gorges at Saco, and in both instances was won hj 
Cleeve. Winter then tried to have the jury which decided 
against him in one of the suits attainted, and also proposed 
to appeal to the proprietor himself. Arbitration, however, 
was first resorted to, and again the decision was favorable to 
Cleeve. Though this checked further proceedings, the Tre- 
lawny interest continued to threaten Cleeve with ejectment 
from Machigonne neck — where he had developed a pros- 
perous Indian trade— and from his other possessions. 

But the outbreak of civil troubles in England soon landed 
the royalist Trelawny in prison, where, about two years 
later, he died. It also completed for the time the ruin of 
Gorges's plans. Cleeve, who till now had sheltered himself 
under Gorges's authority, at once revisited England and 
induced Alexander Rigby, a parliamentarian, to buy the 
Lygonia or Plough patent. .This included the territory be- 
tween Cape Porpoise and Sagadahoc, and extended forty 
miles into the mainland. It thus included Saco, all the terri- 
tory held by Cammock, Trelawny, and Cleeve, and much in 
addition. Cleeve secured from Rigby confirmation of his 
own^ grant, and received appointment as governor of Ly- 
gonia. He also preferred charges before parliament against 
Vines and Godfrey, and asked that a commission, headed by 
Governor Winthrop, be appointed to inquire into them. 
Armed with this authority, or rather with these evidences 
of personal and party support, Cleeve returned to New Eng- 
land late in 1643. Winter died the following year, and his 
son-in-law, Robert Jordan, who officiated for a time as an 
Episcopal clergyman, appears as the equally persistent and 
far more skilful defender of the Trelawny claims. 

Cleeve, as soon as possible after his return,^ began ap- 
pointing officers for his province and called a court to meet 
at Casco. He sent Tucker abroad to procure the signatures 
of all who approved his course. He sought to discredit the 
claims of the Gorges party. Concerning his doings Vines, 
who, after the departure of Thomas Gorges represented the 
interests of the proprietor, informed Governor Winthrop. 

1 Baxter, op. cit 246. * Ibid, 190, 233 et $eq. 


Cleeve, whose assumed Puritan leanings had already brought CHAP, 
him into connection with Massachusetts, now sent Tucker to 
procure the intervention of that colony. But Vines had 
Tucker arrested while on his way, and bound him over for 
trial at Saco. His release, however, was followed by the 
despatch of the appeal to Boston, and later by a proposal 
that Lygonia should be admitted to the New England Con- 
federacy.^ Massachusetts was not disposed to act hastily 
upon either of these propositions, while the fact that the 
inhabitants of Lygonia could hardly be considered as living 
"in a church way" was likely to prove an insuperable 
obstacle to their union with the Confederacy. While Mas- 
sachusetts delayed action the royal cause suffered irretriev- 
able defeat in England, and with it the immediate prospects 
of the Gorges family in America vanished. It was this 
which caused the withdrawal of Vines to Barbadoes. 

Henry Josselyn, the successor of Vines, now went with a 
body of armed men to Casco and demanded a view of the 
documents ^ on which Cleeve based his claim. Their demand 
was granted, but they of course were not thereby convinced, 
and presented in writing a protest and a demand that Cleeve 
and his associates should submit to the government of 
Maine. This was rejected, and both parties agreed to sub- 
mit their case to the judgment of Massachusetts. The trial 
was held in June, 1646,^ before the court of assistants, with a 
jury, at Boston. Cleeve and Tucker appeared in defence of 
the Rigby claim, Josselyn and Robinson in the interest of 
Gorges. Cleeve produced the assignment of the Lygonia 
patent to Rigby, signed by a part of the patentees, but he 
was unable to prove that the territory which he claimed was 
within its limits. Josselyn, on behalf of the defendant, was 
able to produce only a copy of Gorges's patent, and that 
was held to be not pleadable in law. For these reasons the 
jury could not find a verdict, and the assistants dismissed 
the case with the advice that peace be maintained until the 
controversy could be settled under authority from England. 

Rigby now obtained from the Commissioners of Plan- 
tations in England a confirmation of the Lygonia patent. 

1 Winthrop, IL 187. * Baxter, 265, 274. « Winthxop, n. 314. 


PART This settled the question for the present, and confined the 
V y possessions of Gorges to the small district between the Ken- 

nebunk and Piscataqua rivers, with the settlement at Kittery, 
Gorgeana, and Wells, and a hamlet on the Isles of Shoals. 
It was within this district, after Gorges's death, that the 
settlers formed a combination and elected Edward Godfrey 
governor, with a council from the towns. Meantime Cleeve, 
acting with the support of a commission of Massachusetts 
men which had been appointed by parliament,^ had estab- 
lished government within the Lygonia grant. A general 
assembly was called, and a circuit court met at Casco, Black 
Point, and Saco in turn. Josselyn and Jordan cooperated 
with Cleeve in this, and with the help of the latter as a 
magistrate Jordan was placed in possession of all the prop- 
erty of the Trelawny heir in the province. At this stage 
of affairs Governor Winthrop died, and his death was fol- 
lowed, in 16t50, by the death of Alexander Rigby. The first- 
mentioned event removed the source of hesitancy among the 
magistrates of Massachusetts to the annexation of the Maine 
settlements ; the death of Rigby greatly weakened the influ- 
ence of Cleeve and revived the hopes of his enemies that 
they might yet overthrow him. 

Godfrey and the settlers between the Kennebunk and 
Piscataqua rivers now, in 1661, petitioned parliament for the 
recognition of their government, and Cleeve carried the 
document to England. Massachusetts at once took action. 
Bradstreet, Dennison, and Hathorne were sent^ by the 
general court to urge upon those towns the claim of Massa- 
chusetts and to foeat for submission. Godfrey refused to 
admit the claim which Massachusetts was urging in refer- 
ence to her northern boundary, and insisted with truth that 
Gorges's royal charter was as valid as their own. He also 
called attention to services which he had rendered to Massa- 
chusetts when she was threatened with a quo warranto in 
England. Having petitioned parliament, he and his associ- 
ates refused to submit. 

In 1652, nothing having been heard from parliament, 

1 Baxter, 16l! 

> Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 70 ; Williamson, History of Maine, I. 337 el seq. 



another commission, with Bradstreet at its head and Wiggin CEL^P 
and Pendleton of the Piscataqua settlements among its ^^ 
members,^ was sent first to Kittery and then to Agamenticus. 
The people were called together. After considerable debate 
at both places, and persistent objections from Godfrey, sub- 
mission was voted by large majorities of the inhabitants. 
Godfrey then for the time abandoned opposition and took 
the oath with the rest, though later he returned to England, 
where, both before and after the Restoration, he appeared as 
a determined opponent of the pretensions of Massachusetts.^ 
Kittery and Agamenticus — the latter under the name of 
York — were now made towns, and provision was made for 
holding yearly in each town two sessions of a county court. 
A new county, named Yorkshire, was organized. All of its 
inhabitants who took the freeman's oath were nominally 
admitted to full political rights. In 1653 Wells,^ Cape Por- 
poise, and Saco followed the example of these towns, and 
thus an important part of the Lygonia patent fell under the 
control of Massachusetts. 

Cleeve, after his return from England, with the inhabitants 
of Casco, held out against Massachusetts until 1658. The 
plea which he urged was the validity of the Lygonia patent 
and of its assignment to Rigby,^ and the fact that legal 
government was in existence under it. This of course 
involved a denial of the boundary claim now urged by 
Massachusetts, and there is evidence that in the protests 
from the settlers east of Saco this was as strongly enforced 
as it had been by the residents farther west. As a large 
proportion of the inhabitants of this region were Episcopa- 
lians, or sympathizers with that form of worship, Cleeve 
received additional assurance of support. He presented a 
petition from the settlers about Casco bay before the general 
court ^ at Boston, but received in reply only another assertion 
of its claim and of its determination to maintain it. Massa- 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. lY^. 100, 122 et seq. ; Williamson, I. 342. 
< Colls. Maine Hist. Soc. IX. 326. 
» Mass. Col. Recs. IV^, 168, lSO-161. 

* Baxter, op, cit. 161 ; Letter of Cleeve to the magistrates and deputies of 

* Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 250. 


chusetts also declared that she was not infringing the liber- 
ties of the planters, but was extending to them the same 
benefits which her own people enjoyed. 

Meantime Edward Rigby, son of Sir Alexander, was 
urging his claims before the authorities in England against 
counter representations from Massachusetts ; but at that 
time no decision could be reached. In May, 1657, the 
general court wrote to Josselyn and Jordan, calling their 
attention to alleged disturbances in Saco and Wells ^ and 
asking them to meet the commissioners at York and 
assist in establishing a firm goyernment in ^^ those parts 
beyond Saco to the utmost bounds of our pattent." The 
summons was disregarded, as was a later one from the 
commissioners to appear at the general court in Boston. 
But after some further correspondence, owing to the in- 
crease of disorder in the eastern settlements and the lack 
of sufficient authority there to repress it, in May, 1658,* 
Samuel Symonds and Thomas Wiggin were joined with the 
magistrates of Yorkshire and ordered to proceed thither and 
take ^Hhe residue of the inhabitants residing within our 
line" under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. This was 
effected at the house of Robert Jordan at Spurwink. The 
inhabitants of Black Point, Blue Point, Spurwink, and 
Casco then signed a form of submission and took the oath. 
They were guarantied the same liberties as those which were 
enjoyed by the towns that had previously submitted. They 
were themselves organized as two towns, Scarborough and 
Falmouth, with the Spurwink river as the boundary between 
them. This finally was the form to which the settlements 
within the patents of Cammock, Trelawny, and Cleeve had 
come. The towns were given local courts and representation 
in the general court at Boston. They were also incorporated 
within Yorkshire, but owing to the size and remoteness of 
that county, with the consent of the inhabitants, Josselyn, 
Jordan, Cleeve, and two other residents were appointed for 
one year to try cases in the two towns which did not in- 
volve more than £50. Each of these appointees also pos- 

1 Mass. Col. Recs. IV^. 306, 318 ; Baxter, 208. 
> Mass. CoL Recs. lY^. 338, 367. 



sessed the authority of a local justice in his town, together CHAP, 
with the other powers of a magistrate- The five in joint 
session could appoint militia officers below the rank of cap- 
tain and transact the probate business usually done in county 
courts. Provision was also made for sessions of the county 
court at Saco and Scarborough, as well as at York. This 
court should consist of the five magistrates already mentioned, 
and four associates chosen annually by the freemen. 

The towns of Maine, as well as those on the Piscataqua, 
were not taxed for the general purposes of the colony ; they 
were required to meet only the expenses of their local gov- 
ernment. This, however, was done under the forms of the 
Massachusetts system. This circumstance made it less need- 
ful than it otherwise would have been for these remote 
towns to be represented in the general court. Moreover, 
no law at that time required deputies to reside in the towns 
which they represented.^ In 1659 Edward Rish worth of 
York represented Scarborough and Falmouth. In 1660 
Henry Josselyn of Scarborough was deputy. The towns 
were unrepresented from that date until 1663, when Cleeve 
of Falmouth was chosen for two successive years. No more 
deputies were chosen until 1669, when Richard CoUicot, a 
resident of Boston, represented Falmouth. From 1670 until 
the organization of government under the charter of 1691 
no more representatives were sent to the general court from 
Scarborough or Falmouth.^ 

1 Mass. Col. Laws, 1889, pp. 47, 49, 146. 
3 Willis, History of Portland, L 147. 



The process of growth which has been described in the 
preceding chapters gave rise to a group of colonies in New 
England which were similarly organized and whose inhabit- 
ants had kindred objects in view. But the boundaries be- 
tween them were not definitely settled, while the expansion 
of trade and colonization sometimes brought them into con- 
flict. In location, character, and institutions they were in 
the seventeenth century very distinct from the English 
colonies to the south, and they had few dealings with them. 
They had foreigners as neighbors on the north and west, 
while the presence of the Indians in their midst kept alive 
the feeling JJiat at any time they might find cooperation in 
defence a necessity. There was no umpire or sovereign in 
Europe to whom they would willingly have submitted their 
controversies, and none whose sympathy could have been 
enlisted in the furtherance of their most cherished projects. 

In 1634 an encounter took place between one Hocking,^ 
from Cocheco, or Dover, on the Piscataqua, and some agents 
of Plymouth who were in charge of its trading post on 
the Kennebec river. The Plymouth people had b clear 
right there by patent, but Hocking forced his way past their 
trading house and anchored above them for the purpose of 
intercepting the Indian traders as they came down the river. 
In a collision which resulted from this, Hocking and one of 
the Plymouth men were slain. Though Massachusetts had 
not yet begun seriously to interfere in the affairs of the 
eastern settlements, this event seemed to her magistrates to 
be not only a cause of common reproach but likely to fur- 

^ Bradford, 316 ; Winthrop, L 155 et seq. 



nish the king with an excuse for sending over a general 
governor. Therefore they interfered and detained John 
Alden, who had been present at the Plymouth trading post 
when the shooting occurred. The Plymouth magistrates, 
surprised at this, sent Captain Standish to Boston to give cor- 
rect information concerning the affair and to secure Alden's 
release. This, however, was only conditionally granted. A 
conference was also called, and parties from Pljonouth and 
Dover were asked to attend at Boston for the purpose of 
discussing the affair and arranging a settlement. But no 
representatives from Dover appeared. Winthrop, with two 
ministers, conferred with Bradford, Winslow, and Ralph 
Smith, the acting pastor at Plymouth. They, acting in a 
purely private capacity, exonerated Plymouth from any 
charge of criminal conduct, though Bradford and his asso- 
ciates admitted that their men had shown too great haste. 
When, soon after, Winslow was sent to England, he took 
letters from Governor Dudley and from Winthrop explain- 
ing the event and soliciting a mild judgment concerning it. 
In 1635 a controversy arose between settlers from Plym- 
outh who had been resident about two years on the Con- 
necticut river and the emigrants who were tl^n beginning 
to arrive in the same region from Massachusetts. Those 
from Plymouth, ignoring the protests of the Dutch, had 
bought a tract from the Indians in what later became the 
town of Windsor. There they built a trading post. But 
the Massachusetts men, coming in this instance from the 
towns of Dorchester and Newtown, coolly denominated the 
region the "Lord's waste," and settled upon it, as they 
thought, " without just offense to any man." But a part of 
the tract of which they took possession was the same which 
the Plymouth people had bought. The latter protested 
through Jonathan Brewster, who was the agent in charge of 
the interests of Plymouth on the Connecticut. The colony 
also supported their contention. But the settlers from 
Massachusetts, in addition to the argument already cited, 
urged that their claim was justified by the strength of the 
movement with which they were connected. The Plymouth 
enterprise they called weak and temporary, and before this 


appeal to the right of the strongest Plymouth was forced to 
give way. The Plymouth settlers thought at one time of 
appealing to the Warwick patentees, but their opponents 
would not agree to this. Therefore, after securing from 
the Dorchester men a formal acknowledgment of their right 
to the tract which they had bought from the Indians, the 
Plymouth people ceded to them all of the land which they 
claimed, except one-sixteenth. Upon the part of the land 
which was reserved stood the Plymouth trading house. 
With the settlers from Newtown, who occupied Hartford, an 
agreement on fairer terms was reached. " Thus," says Brad- 
ford, " was ye controversie ended, but the unkindness not so 
soone forgotten." ^ 

In addition to frontier disputes concerning rights to land 
and trade such as those just cited, boundary controversies 
developed on a larger and more important scale. For a 
number of years after the grant of the Bradford patent to 
Plymouth uncertainty existed concerning the boundary 
between that colony and Massachusetts.^ It originated in 
a dispute between the two border towns, Scituate and Hing- 
ham, over their right to the meadow which lay between 
them. Through those meadows ran the Cohassett river or 
brook, which was loosely designated in the Bradford patent 
as the northern boundary of Plymouth colony. Massachu- 
setts had not determined where her line, three miles south 
of Massachusetts bay and the Charles river, would run, and 
was strongly inclined to claim everything drained by the 
southern tributaries of that river. As the controversy 
developed, Massachusetts claimed all of the town of Scituate 
and more, while Plymouth sought to balance this by claim- 
ing Hingham. Finally, the two colonies appointed commis- 
sioners, and in 1640, after much argument, the boundary 
throughout its eastern extent was fixed at the "bound 
brook " ill the Cohassett meadows and at Accord ^ pond. 

A similar dispute arose between Massachusetts and the 
colony of the River Towns on the Connecticut respecting 
the possession of Agawam or Springfield. Though this 
settlement lay north of the Massachusetts boundary, it was 

1 Bradford, 888 e< seq. > Ibid. 367 et seq. * Plym. Recs. IX. 1. 


much nearer to the Connecticut towns than to Boston, and 
was connected with them by the river and by the natural 
course of trade. A wilderness fifty miles in breadth sepa- 
rated it from the nearest town in eastern Massachusetts. 
For this reason, in 1639, the local executive and judicial 
powers of an assistant were bestowed by the inhabitants on 
William, Pynchon, their magistrate, and because of the few- 
ness of the settlers the number required for the jury was fixed 
at six instead of twelve.^ Though towns were later founded 
north of Springfield in the Connecticut valley, it continued 
for more than a century to be the administrative and mili- 
tary centre of that region, and therefore held a position 
somewhat more independent than was the case with most 
New England towns. For a brief period after it was 
founded the Connecticut towns insisted that they were 
entitled to jurisdiction over it.^ This both the magistrates 
of Boston and the inhabitants of Springfield itself refused to 
admit. But the trade of Springfield went down the river, 
and it was considered bound to join with the Connecticut 
towns in maintaining the fort at Saybrook. In this way 
intercolonial relations of a somewhat delicate nature arose, 
which might call for adjustment by some joint tribunal. 

In addition to disputes over trade and boundaries which 
might arise between the colonies themselves, their relations 
with the Dutch and French easily occasioned controversies 
over similar points, and these might involve issues of a far 
wider and deeper importance. Along the course of the 
Connecticut the territorial claim of the Dutch extended far 
to the east of localities which by 1640 the English had 
settled. During the next decade the English, in obedience 
to a natural impulse, pushed on until their remotest outpost, 
Greenwich, lay within thirty miles of Manhattan. This was 
in accordance with the policy urged in 1642 upon the gov- 
ernor of Connecticut by Sir William Boswell, the representa- 
tive of England at The Hague. " Doe not forbeare to put 
forward their plantations," said he, ** and crowd on, crowd- 

1 6 Mass. Hist. Coll. I. 487. Pynchon had not at this time been chosen an 
assistaiit by the general court. 
« Winthrop, I. 843. 


ing the Dutch out of those places where they have occupied, 
but without hostility ot any act of ^ violence." This fitly 
describes the westward advance of the English from the 
time when their traders passed beyond Narragansett bay 
until the power of the Duke of York was established on the 
Hudson itself. The tendency revealed itself as clearly on 
Long Island as it did on the mainland. Three-fourths of 
that region was settled by Englishmen, and most of the towns 
which they founded there were exact reproductions of the 
New England model ; the larger part of them were also 
independent of the Dutch. But until this process of west- 
ward expansion was more than half completed, the Dutch 
retained a post at Hartford on the Connecticut, while it was 
never possible to end the interminable boundary disputes by 
an agreement which the English would observe. A similar 
overlapping of claims existed on the north, but the English 
and French were not yet in such proximity as to occasion 
the difl&culties which arose between the two rivals along the 
western border. The relations, however, with both the 
French and Dutch called for deliberation and action. 

The Indians also confronted the English in nearly every re- 
lation of life. A visitation of disease, in which the Puritans 
could see with special clearness the hand of providence, had 
nearly destroyed the Massachusetts tribe a few years before 
the arrival of the English. But when the English had 
extended their settlements back from the coast a distance of 
twenty miles or more, they came in contact with the Pena- 
cooks, Nipmucks, Wampanoags, Narragansetts, and had to 
compete with them for the possession of the country. Those 
who settled along the southern shore and on Long Island 
sound found themselves in the presence of a relatively large 
Indian population. The remote settlements in the Connecti- 
cut valley were surrounded by the Pequots, the Mohegans, 
and the various tribes which occupied the highlands east 
and west of the valley. In 1637 a war with the Pequots 
called for the first armed cooperation of the colonies. It 
was possible that Indian alliances and enmities might at 
any time occasion war. Their alliances and enmities also 

^ Conn. Recs. I. 665. 


extended beyond the borders, and were involved with the CHAP, 
rivalries between the French, Dutch, and English. The y ' , 
sale of arms, ammunition, or liquor to the savages by colo- 
nists who belonged to any one of the three European nation- 
alities might cause difficulties for the other two. The same 
result might follow from Indian trade of a more legitimate 
character. Internal policy, so far as it related to the sav- 
ages, suggested also in other ways the advantages of joint 
management. This was especially true of efforts to convert 
and civilize the Indians. For these reasons the problems 
arising from Indian relations occupied a prominent place 
among the causes which were contributory to the union of 
the New England colonies. 

' The sense of a common mission, which was so strong among 
the New England Puritans, naturally promoted joint action. 
They had a common civil and ecclesiastical system to up- 
hold and extend. With this a system of schools, with its 
centre in Harvard College, was closely connected. Synods, 
whose members came from all the New England colonies, 
were called to regulate ecclesiastical polity and to give com- 
mon expression to the principles of the faith. The strength- 
ening of the churches and the maintenance of their purity 
through an educated ministry were regarded as objects of 
the highest importance. The restraint of error and schism 
suggested only the negative side of the same problem. 
These were objects of the most general attention, and could 
hardly fail to occupy a prominent place among the purposes 
of those who sought a closer union of the Puritan colonies. 
It was indeed in connection with the Synod of 1637, when 
the magistrates and ministers of Connecticut were at New- 
town, that the adoption of articles of confederation was first 
seriously^ broached. Notice was given to the magistrates 
of Plymouth, but too late for them to come or to send dele- 
gates. Hence the matter was for that time dropped. 

In the history of Puritan New England nothing is more 
evident than the leadership of Massachusetts. This of 
course is to be explained in part by her superiority to the 
other colonies in population and resources. But apart from 

1 WiDthrop, L 283. 


that, a decision, a power of initiative, a certain rigor, not to 
say ruthlessness, appear in her conduct, which does not show 
itself so distinctly in other colonies of the group. The 
oligarchy which governed Massachusetts was ready, when- 
ever opportunity offered, to annex all weak or disturbed 
communities which were adjacent to its boundaries, and 
to assume protectorates with undefined possibilities over 
neighboring Indians. The dealings of Massachusetts 
with the Narragansett towns and with the settlements 
on the Piscataqua and in Maine furnish conspicuous exam- 
ples of this spirit. This conduct shows that in the relations 
with the neighboring colonies Massachusetts utilized to the 
full the advantages which came from her royal charter. 
It gave steadiness to the policy which she adopted for the 
advancement of the Puritan faith and for the repression 
of dissent. She could adopt measures, both administrative 
and judicial, to which the colonies that had no charters 
would hesitate to resort. The foes of the Puritan system, 
both in New and Old England, showed a correct apprecia- 
tion of the facts when they directed against Massachusetts 
their heaviest assaults. It was therefore certain that any 
confederation which might be formed would be a union 
among unequals, and its character would depend very largely 
upon Massachusetts. 

In 1638, while the boundary dispute between Massachu- 
setts and Plymouth was still unsettled, and the controversy 
over the towns in the Connecticut valley was in progress, 
Massachusetts proposed that two or more commissioners from 
each of the colonies interested should meet,^ with power to 
agree upon articles of union. Connecticut objected to the 
bestowment of power on these commissioners, and desired 
that the general courts should have the final decision. Con- 
necticut also submitted certain propositions of her own. 
These the magistrates at Boston began to discuss and amend, 
one of their objects being to give " some preeminence " to 
Massachusetts. To the proposed amendments Connecticut 
objected. The conference failed of its immediate purpose, 
though it occasioned much discussion respecting claims to 

1 Winthrop, I. 342. 


Springfield and to the Pequot country, and concerning the CHAP. 
claims of Connecticut democracy as compared with Massa- ^ ^' ^ 
chusetts aristocracy. Winthrop was of opinion that the 
motive for it all was "their shyness of coming under our 

In 1642, perhaps because she feared an Indian war, Con- 
necticut proposed that a confederacy should be established. 
Plymouth was now willing to join. The proposals were 
read before the general court of Massachusetts and referred 
to a committee for consideration after the court rose. By 
this body some changes were made and articles added, and 
the wliole was sent back to Connecticut, "to be considered 
upon against the Spring."^ 

In May, 1643, commissioners from the four colonies which 
were interested met at Boston.^ All except those from Plym- 
outh had authority to sign the articles. After two or three 
meetings the terms were settled. It was resolved that the 
settlements in Maine should be excluded, " because they ran 
a different course from us both in their ministry and civil 
administration." We do not know whether or not the ad- 
mission of the Narragansett settlements was discussed, but 
it is certain that when, in 1644, and again in 1648, those on 
Rhode Island applied for admission, it was refused unless 
they would consent to annexation by Massachusetts or 

In the preamble to the Articles of Confederation the 
reasons for the formation of the union were stated. They 
were, that the parties to it had come to America with the 
common purpose of extending the Christian religion and 
enjoying its liberties in purity ; that by the providence of 
God in the process of settlement they had been scattered 
further along sea-coasts and rivers than was at first intended, 
so that they could not conveniently live under one govern- 
ment and jurisdiction ; that they were surrounded by people 
of foreign nationality, and were exposed to attack by the 
Indians ; and finally that, because of distractions in England, 

1 Mass. Recs. IL 31 ; Winthrop, 11. 06, 102. 

* Plymouth Recs. IX. ; Winthrop, IL 110 et aeq. 

* Plymouth Recs. IX. 23, 110. 


PART they could not appeal to her for help. For these reasons 
^ ^ J they entered into a " consociation." 

The name which was selected for the confederation was 
the United Colonies of New England. Though in the lan- 
guage of the articles it was an union between plantations 
which were under the government of the colonies concerned, 
it would be absurd to draw the inference that it was a con- 
federation of towns. The nature of the union was stated in 
the articles to be ^^ a firm and perpetual league of friendship 
and amity, for offence and defence, mutual advice and succor 
upon all just occasions, both for preserving and propagating 
the truths of the Gospel, and for their own mutual safety and 
welfare." The territorial and governmental integrity of 
each of the confederating colonies was guarantied. No other 
colony should be admitted, nor should any two of the confed- 
erated colonies join in one, without the consent of the Union. 

The only governmental machinery created by the Articles 
of Union was a board of eight commissioners, two from each 
colony and chosen annually by their respective general courts. 
This body was little else than a joint committee of the gen- 
eral courts. At each of its meetings it chose a president, 
who had only the powers of a moderator. One regular 
meeting was held annually in September, and others on ex- 
traordinary occasions. Meetings should be held in succes- 
sion in each of the contracting colonies, though two sessions 
in each cycle must be held in Boston. Ail the commis- 
sioners must be "in church fellowship." 

The most important powers which were intrusted to the 
commissioners were those relating to defence. The lan- 
guage of the articles implied that they should have full power 
to decide upon offensive, as well as defensive, war, also on* 
peace, leagues, aids, charges, and numbers of men for war, 
and division of all the gains of war. If in the case of attack 
on any of the colonies the danger should be slight, the near- 
est colony might give aid alone. If the attack should be 
serious, on the appeal of three of the magistrates of the im- 
perilled colony the entire force of the Confederacy should 
be called out. At such times Massachusetts should equip 
one hundred men and the other colonies forty-five men each. 



With the consent of the commissioners this proportion might CHA 
be changed. No charge should be laid on the confederates ^ 
for a defensive war, imless it was levied by order of the com- 
missioners, and after they had decided the war to be just. The 
expenses of war should be borne by the colonies in propor- 
tion to the number of their male inhabitants between the 
ages of sixteen and sixty. The assessment and collection of 
revenue was left under the control of the respective colonies. 
The booty and other gains of war should be distributed in 
proportion to the burden sustained. 

In addition to their war powers, the commissioners were 
authorized to take measures for the prevention of quarrels 
between the colonies ; to see that escaped servants, prison- 
ers, and fugitives from justice, fleeing from one colony to 
another, should be returned ; that the administration of 
justice should be speedy and sure ; that Indian affairs 
should be justly regulated, and that migration from one 
colony to another should be unhindered. 

If unanimity could not be reached by the commissioners 
as the result of their discussion of any subject, the vote of 
six should be decisive. If so many as six votes could not be 
obtained, the question might be referred to the general 
courts. If they all approved, the proposal should become 
a law of the confederation. Room was left for the amend- 
ment of the articles by the provision that, if any article 
was found by one of the colonies to have an injurious effect, 
it should be considered by the commissioners of the other 
jurisdictions, ^^ that both peace and the present confederation 
may be entirely preserved without violation." 

The signers of the articles were Winthrop and Dudley 
of Massachusetts, Fenwick and Hopkins of Connecticut, 
Eaton and Greyson of New Haven, Winslow and Collier of 
Plymouth. They were chosen commissioners for the first 
year, and Winthrop was their first president. Bradford, 
Prince, Endicott, Bradstreet, John Winthrop, Jr., and Leete 
were afterwards prominent among the members. The articles 
provided for a very crude and simple form of union. The 
powers bestowed upon it were very limited, and the con- 
trivance devised for executing the powers was of the 

VOL. I — 2d 


ART simplest description. The commissioners could not exe- 
^ ^ cute their own orders or provide the revenue necessary 
thereto. It was possible that their projects might at any 
time be checked by the opposition of two members. Their 
orders must therefore take the form of advice, and were in 
many, if not most, cases couched in that form. Still by 
periodical meetings many common interests were advanced 
and a steadiness was given to New England policy which 
might otherwise have been unattainable. 

Though members of the confederation were equally rep- 
resented on the board of commissioners, they shared un- 
equally in burdens and rewards. Massachusetts was the 
leading colony in population, wealth, and influence. The 
question of her precedence therefore naturally arose. At 
the third meeting ^ of the commissioners she claimed as her 
right the first place in the subscription of acts and orders. 
The other colonies denied that any such privilege had been 
proposed or granted, but to prevent further trouble they 
agreed that the commissioners of Massachusetts should 
continue to subscribe the acts first after the president, as 
had thus far been the practice. This concession was re- 
peated in 1648, but in neither case was it based on the claim 
of right. All of the extraordinary sessions — five in number 
— which were held by the commissioners during the con- 
tinuance of the union were called at the instance of Massa- 
chusetts. In nearly all cases the occasion of the call was 
the supposed necessity for measures of immediate defence. 
In 1647, 1649, and twice in 1653, extraordinary sessions were 
called for this reason. In each case the fear of conflict 
with the Indians of southern New England, or with them 
as the allies of the Dutch, furnished the occasion for the 

Annual sessions were regularly held until 1664, the year 
of the royal commission and of the submission of New Haven 
to government under the newly granted charter of Con- 
necticut. As the confederation was wholly extra-legal and 
its formation was one of the acts of the New England 
colonies which might irritate the king, the Restoration 

1 Plymouth Recs. IX. 16, 109. 


necessarily terminated the more active period of its life. In 
England in the person of the king an umpire now existed 
who was ready to decide intercolonial controversies. The 
disappearance of New Haven, thus reducing the number 
of confederated colonies to three, was followed by an order 
that the commissioners would henceforth meet triennially. 
The changes in the Articles of Confederation which were 
necessitated by the disappearance of New Haven as a sepa- 
rate colony were not adopted until 1670. ^ A few unim- 
portant meetings were held between that time and the 
opening of Philip's war. During the period of that con- 
flict the commissioners held several meetings.* After that 
their activity practically ceased, and the recall of the 
charter of Massachusetts in 1684 put an end forever to 
their existence. 

The right to interpret the Articles of Confederation rested 
by implicatipn, and in the first instance, with the commis- 
sioners, but finally with the general courts of the colonies 
themselves. If such questions became involved with political 
issues a single colony might decide the case. for the confed- 
eration. This was done by Massachusetts in one notable 
instance. From this fact it appears — and the inference is 
justified by the entire history of the Confederacy — that the 
power of the commissioners was only advisory. Against 
the resolve of one colony, or in any case against that of two 
colonies, they were powerless to act. The function which 
they performed was that of a joint advisory board for the 
colonies, with certain designated spheres of action and sub- 
ject to annual renewal. 

To certain questions which Massachusetts submitted in 
1648,^ involving interpretation of the articles, the commis- 
sioners replied that, though they should issue orders on all 
matters within their powers, as treaties, sending messengers, 
designation of men, provisions and charges for common enter- 
prises, censuring offenders, and the like, yet the execution of 
these measures belonged to the jurisdiction where the com- 

1 Plymouth Recs. X. 819, 824, 884, 345, 846. 
> Ibid, 858 et seq. ; Conn. Recs. III. Appendix. 
* Plymouth Recs. IX. 119, 126. 


ART missioners sat or the colony where the offenders might be 
^ ^ found. K the colony in question, however, should refuse or 
delay action in such case, it would be guilty of breach of 
covenant. The same would be true if it should change its 
religion. But what remedy could be applied in such cases 
the commissioners confessed themselves unable to state. 
Several of the questions which were then raised were re- 
ferred to the general courts for final decision. 

The most important controversy that ever occurred respect- 
ing the nature of the union was occasioned in 1653 by rumors 
that the Dutch were plotting with the Indians for a massacre 
of the English in ^ the Connecticut settlements. Color was 
given to these reports by the fact that war was then in prog- 
ress between the parent states in Europe. However, special 
inquiries by agents of the commissioners among the Indians 
and in New Netherland revealed no evidence of plots or 
intended hostilities.^ Still New Haven and the {liver Towns 
seemed very much alarmed and insisted on immediate war 
with the Dutch. Two extraordinary sessions were held by 
the commissioners, and the general court of Massachusetts, 
after consultation with the clergy, took decisive action. 
The clergy, after hearing the charges which could be urged 
against the Dutch, reported that they did not consider 
these a sufficient cause for war, and recommended that 
clearer evidence be procured before resort was had to arms. 
The deputies of the general court of Massachusetts expressed 
the same view, and urged that messengers should be sent 
to the Dutch to demand satisfaction and security for the 
future. When, however, at a later meeting the colonies on 
the Coimecticut became more urgent for war, the general 
court of Massachusetts propounded the question, whether the 
commissioners had authority under the articles to commit 
the colonies to an offensive war. The language of the sixth 
article, though far from precise, seemed to imply that they 
had the power. But a committee of magistrates, to which 
the question was referred, reported that the commissioners 
were judges of defensive, but not of offensive war, and that 

^ Plymouth Recs. X. 66 et seq. 

* Ibid, 27-52 ; Brodhead, History of New York, I. 650 et seq. 


they could begin an oflEensive war only under express author- 
ity from the colonies involved. It could not have been the 
intention of colonies which were so jealous of their inde- 
pendence to divest themselves of power in such weighty 
matters.^ It would be a " bondage hardly to bee borne by 
the most Subjective people ; and cannot bee conceived soe 
free a people as the Colonies should submite unto." With 
this the deputies in the Massachusetts general court con- 
curred, and insisted that any other conclusion was incon- 
sistent not only with the right of self-government enjoyed 
by each colony, but with the higher rights of conscience.^ 
The regular meeting of the commissioners at Boston, in 
September, 16i53, was mainly occupied with the controversy 
over this subject. The commissioners from the smaller 
colonies came resolved to insist on the literal interpretation 
of the sixth article. But the general court of Massachusetts, 
which was again in session, reaffirmed its position, that ^^ the 
Commissioners have not power to determine the Justice of 
an offensive war so as to oblige the severall Colonies to acte 
accordingly."* As execution must ultimately devolve on 
the general courts, Massachusetts was confident that they 
would agree in authoritatively interpreting the acts in har- 
monv with her view. But the six commissioners remained 
firm, and declared that Massachusetts desired to break up 
the league. This, of course, Massachusetts denied, and 
claimed that she was reserving only what was necessary to 
her independence. Bradstreet and Hathorne, her two com- 
missioners, then proposed that the board should proceed to 
the regular business of the session. But soon after, a peti- 
tion came from New Haven submitting the question whether, 
since England and the Dutch were at war in Europe and 
affairs were so unsettled in the colonies, war should not be 

1 Plym. Kecs. X. 75. 

' That this was not wholly a new doctrine in Massachusetts is shown by 
objections which its general court made in 1645 to action on the part of the 
commissioners which was likely to commit the colonies to a war with the 
Narragansett Indians. The general court then objected to the despatch of 
troops by order of the commissioners without express authority from the 
colonies. Plymouth Recs. IX. 86. See Art. 7 of Body of Liberties. 

« Ibid. X. 79. 


declared. The six commissioners voted unanimously in 
favor of this proposition, and Hathome finally gave his vote 
with the majority. 

Massachusetts appealed to Plymouth on the point at issue^ 
but received a reply unfavorable to her view. But still the 
Bay colony held out, and the session closed without any con- 
clusion being reached. Before the commissioners met again 
peace had been concluded in Europe, and the imagined peril 
had passed away. By thus opposing action, the impulse to 
which originated in panic, Massachusetts rendered a valuable 
service to all New England, and to the Dutch as well. 

The following year Massachusetts coolly announced that 
she abandoned the interpretation on which she had so 
strongly insisted. She now acknowledged that the colo- 
nies were bound to execute the resolves of the commis- 
sioners according to the literal sense of the articles. This 
the commissioners accepted, provided the general court of 
Massachusetts at its meeting would certify to the other 
general courts its consent and agree to act accordingly.^ 
We have no evidence to show whether or not this was done. 
Among the changes, however, which were made in the 
articles in 1667 and 1670 was the introduction of a clause 
providing that neither the colonies nor the confederation 
should be involved "in any war" without the consent of 
the several general courts.* 

Additional light will be thrown on the nature of this 
confederacy by reference to the influence actually exerted 
by the commissioners upon the questions which grew out of 
relations with the Dutch, French, and Indians. Relations 
with the Dutch enlisted the interests of all the New England 
colonies, and, because they were generally sure of the united 
support of the English, the commissioners were able to act 
toward them with more than their usual decision and effect. 
In 1646 the commissioners began corresponding with Director 
Kieft concerning alleged injuries inflicted on the English by 
the Dutch at Good Hope, the destruction by them of the 
settlement planted by the New Haven people on t"he Dela- 
ware river, and the sale by Dutch traders of arms and 

1 Plymouth Recs. IX. 114. * Ibid. 828, 338, 343, 360. 


ammunition to the Indians at Fort Orange, on Long 
Island, at Narragansett bay, and elsewhere. The seizure 
in New Haven harbor by order of the government at Man- 
hattan of the Dutch ship of a trader named Westerhouse, 
who was about to sail for Virginia without paying the re- 
quired duties, also attracted much attention. Its signifi- 
cance arose from the fact that this was an assertion by the 
Dutch of jurisdiction in New Haven harbor. Relations 
between the Dutch and English on Long Island demanded 
some attention, as did the duties and fees collected at Man- 
hattan from those who were engaged in trade with New 
Netherland. Behind the whole lay the question of boun- 
dary. ^ 

During the administi*ation of William Kieft at Manhattan 
the claims and counter claims of the two parties were as- 
serted, but no progress was made toward an adjustment.^ 
By the time Peter Stuyvesant was well installed in office 
the points at issue had increased in number, while the 
westward advance of the English made the establishment 
of some boundary line a necessity to the Dutch. Stuyve- 
sant took up the question in a statesmanlike way and with 
an earnest desire for settlement. In 1650 he came to Hart- 
ford to meet the commissioners, while in session there, and to 
treat with them.^ The Dutch had complaints to offer of a 
nature much more serious than those of the English, for 
they concerned the very existence of New Netherland itself. 
The discoveries of the Dutch had extended as far east as 
Narragansett bay and as far south as Delaware bay. They 
had taught the Plymouth settlers the value of trade about 
the Narragansett coast. They were the explorers of the 
lower course of the Connecticut river and of Long Island 
sound. They were the first to establish a temporary settle- 

^ For a statement of English complaints made by the commissioners, see 
Plymouth Col. Recs. IX. 181. A statement still more full, made in 1653, 
appears in Plymouth Col. Recs. X. 13 et seq. For a statement of Dutch griev- 
ances, see Ibid, 65 et seq. The laws of New Netherland respecting trade will 
be found in Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland, 4, 15, 18, 66, 72, 92, 
126, 175. Special complaints of the English concerning ^'recognitions** 
appear in Plymouth Col. Recs. IX. 108, 113. 

« Plymouth Col. Recs. IX. 61, 76. • Ihid. 171 ct «eg. 



PART ment on Delaware bay, which was later followed by the 
permanent occupation of that region. Of their prior occupa- 
tion of the valley of the Hudson and of Delaware bay and 
the Connecticut river there cotild be little doubt. In the 
Delaware region they had not yet been seriously disturbed 
by the English. But their claims in the Connecticut valley 
and along the sound were wholly ignored. Since English 
colonies had been founded both north and south of the 
Dutch settlements, and since all the territory which the 
Dutch occupied had repeatedly been included in grants from 
the English crown, prior occupation in their case was likely 
to avail little more than original discovery, unless it was 
supported by vigorous colonization. At that point the Dutch 
failed, and an important landmark in the history of their 
withdrawal before the advance of the English on the north 
is the boundary treaty which was concluded between Stuy- 
vesant and the Commissioners of the United Colonies at 
Hartford, in 1650. 

The first letter which Stuyvesant sent to the commissioners 
after his arrival at Hartford contained the words "New 
Netherland " as a part of its caption. He was informed by 
the English that that expression must be dropped, or the 
negotiation could not proceed. The word " Connecticut " 
was then substituted by the Dutch governor. After some 
further correspondence Stuyvesant suggested that two per- 
sons be appointed by each party and fully empowered to 
settle minor dififerences, to agree upon a provisional boundary 
subject to final determination in Europe, to agree upon the 
treatment of fugitives and, so far as possible, upon conditions 
of peaceful intercourse between the people of the two nation- 
alities in America. This proposal was accepted by the Eng- 
lish. They appointed Simon Bradstreet and Thomas Prince ; 
Stuyvesant appointed Thomas Willett and George Baxter, 
both English residents of New Netherland. They drew up 
the following agreement,^ which was accepted by both 
parties. Reference to its terms will show how inconclusive 
it was. 

The question of reparation for the wrongs which the 

1 Plymouth Col. Bees. IX. 188. 


English alleged that they had suffered while Kieft was CHAP, 
director, was deferred until they could be investigated and ^ ^ j 
passed upon by the States General and the West India com- 
pany. The controversy between the Dutch and English on 
the Delaware was disposed of in the same way. Stuyvesant 
explained that in seizing Westerhouse's ship he had not 
intended to lay claim to New Haven, but was executing an 
order to seize any Dutch ship found trading in the English 
colonies without a license. New Haven accepted this expla- 
nation. In regard to the boundary, it was agreed that the 
provisional line should run across Long Island from the west 
side of Oyster bay directly south to the sea. From the sound 
into the mainland the line should run from the west side of 
Greenwich bay twenty miles due north. Northward of that 
point its course should be determined by agreement between 
the Dutch and the colony of New Haven, provided the line 
ran through no point within ten miles of Hudson river. 
The Dutch should not build any house within six miles of 
the boundary. For the present Greenwich should be re- 
garded as lying within Dutch territory. The Dutch should 
retain the land they possessed at Good Hope, but all the 
rest of the Connecticut valley should belong to the English. 
It was agreed that this boundary should be maintained and 
respected until the states of England and Holland should 
approve or modify the agreement. In due time it was rati- 
fied by the States General, but the English government 
never gave it the slightest notice. Had it done so, it would 
have recognized the validity of the territorial claims of the 
Dutch, a step which it consistently refused to take. When, 
a decade later, the advance of English colonization had 
gained increased momentum, it swept across this paper 
barrier and English control was extended almost to Man- 
hattan itself. 

When the Confederacy was formed Massachusetts was 
deeply involved in a controversy growing out of a recent 
privateering expedition from Boston against certain French 
settlements near the mouth of the Penobscot river and east- 
ward of that point. This expedition was occasioned by the 
appeals of Charles de la Tour, who occupied a post on the 


PART St. John river, for aid ^ against his rival D' Annay Chamisay, 
who held possession of Port Royal, and who in 1635 captured 
the trading post which had been established by Plymouth near 
the mouth of the Penobscot. When, in 1632, by the treaty 
of St. Germains, Canada and Acadia, after the exploits of the 
Kirks and the Canada company, were restored by England 
to France, Claude Razilly had been made governor. He 
brought over D'Aunay, who in the name of the governor 
took possession of the settlements in Acadia. In 1635 
Razilly died and left to D'Aunay his authority in these parts, 
the latter taking up his residence at Port Royal. The ter- 
ritorial claims of the French extended indefinitely toward 
the west and southwest. The two easternmost trading 
posts of Plymouth were regarded as clearly within their 
bounds. The one at Machias had been seized in 1632, and 
now D'Aunay took possession of the other. A vessel was 
sent under the authority of Plymouth to recover it, hot 
the attempt did not succeed, while an application by the 
Plymouth colonists to Massachusetts for aid in the enter- 
prise proved unavailing. 

The interests of the family of La Tour in Acadia dated 
from the first French occupation of that region, and had 
been strengthened by grants from Sir William Alexander 
during the period of his proprietorship. As soon as D'Aunay 
appeared Charles de la Tour went to Paris, got his grants 
confirmed, and secured from the company of New France 
the title of lieutenant general at Fort Lomeron and com- 
mander at Cape Sable. Later he secured from the same 
source a grant of land on the St. John river, where he 
built the fort to which reference has already been made. 
La Tour was intensely jealous of D'Aunay, and as soon as 
the latter assimied office as the successor of Razilly a bitter 
rivalry began. D'Aunay derived his authority immediately 
from the crown, while La Tour exhibited a letter from the 
company of New France and a commission from the vice- 
admiral of France. Whether or not those documents were 
genuine it was difficult to tell. After the rivalry between 

1 Winthrop, I. 246, II. 128 et 8eq, ; Bradford, 431 ; Plymouth CoL Recs. 
IX. 24, 56 ; Parkman, Feudal Chiefis in Acadia. 


the two had developed into an open conflict and La Tour 
had been once captured and imprisoned, he came to Boston 
and appealed for help, June, 1643. 

At intervals during the two previous years Massachusetts 
had had dealings with La Tour. In 1641, through a Prot- 
estant emissary, he had asked for help and also for freedom 
of trade with the English. The former request was refused, 
but the latter was granted. In 1642 Catholic emissaries 
were sent to Boston and trade with La Tour was actually 
begun. The merchants of Boston found the trade to the 
eastern parts especially profitable and attractive. The 
Massachusetts people, however, were at this time informed 
by D'Aunay that he had an order from the French govern- 
ment for the arrest of La Tour. France was a friendly 
power. The authorities at Boston were therefore aware of 
the delicate and uncertain relations in which they were 
tempted to interfere. But the chances of profit from a fili- 
bustering expedition to the eastern parts operated as a 
strong attraction on the minds of the merchants. Though 
Winthrop was governor, yet with the approval of such mag- 
istrates and deputies as could be consulted at Boston, and 
without calling a session of the general court, permission 
was g^ven La Tour to hire vessels for his purpose in Mas- 
sachusetts. They promised also not to hinder such persons 
as would volunteer for the expedition. La Tour secured 
four vessels and about seventy men. Captain Edward Gib- 
bons^ and Thomas Hawkins were deeply interested in the 
enterprise, and the latter was the English commander of the 
expedition. He took with him a letter from the magistrates 
stating that the men who had been allowed to go were in- 
structed not to ^^ do or attempt anything against the rules of 
justice or good neighborhood." This letter he delivered to 
D*Aunay at Port Royal, and from the reply which he 
received, was convinced of the rightfulness of D'Aunay's 
claim, and refused to attack him. But some of his men 
joined La Tour in an attack, which resulted in the killing 
of three of D'Aunay's men and the burning of a mill. A 
pinnace loaded with furs belonging to D'Aunay was also 

1 Hazard. Hist. Colls. L 499. 

\ ^ y 


PART captured, and the plunder divided between La Tour, the 
shipowners, and the men. The expedition then returned, 
having given D'Aunay sufficient cause for complaint, with- 
out seriously crippling him. 

D'Aunay at once went to France, and secured there a 
grant of authority which beyond question put him legally 
in the right as against his rival. The next summer, 1644, 
La Tour again appeared in Boston with an appeal for aid, 
and now stated that his adversary had prevailed against him 
in France. At this time the Plymouth partners who had 
been interested in trade on the Penobscot made over their 
claims against D'Aunay for the destruction of their settle- 
ment to John Winthrop, Jr., Gibbons, and Hawkins. They 
were empowered by force of arms or otherwise to recover 
possession. This would indicate that another expedition 
was planning. About the same time Warnerton of Piscat- 
aqua, with about twenty men, at the solicitation of La 
Tour, attacked D'Aunay's settlement on the Penobscot. 
Warnerton was killed, but his men destroyed the house and 
cattle and took the guard prisoners. Thus D'Aunay was 
furnished with an additional cause of complaint. 

But months before events had reached this point of devel- 
opment a storm of protest against the conduct of the Boston 
merchants in this affair, and the apparent indifference of 
the magistrates* toward their proceedings, had arisen in the 
colony. It first manifested itself when the nature of Haw- 
kins's expedition in 1643 became known. The feeling was 
strongest in Salem and vicinity, and it certainly proceeded 
in part from the jealousy with which Boston was regarded 
by the people of that section. Saltonstall, Bradstreet, Sy- 
monds, and four of the ministers sent a remonstrance ^ to the 
governor and magistrates concerned, insisting that La Tour 
had not made out his case and that the course which was 
being pursued would bring down upon the colony the anger 
of France. The fact that La Tour was a papist alarmed 
many, for an alliance with such was regarded as a league 
with idolaters. At a meeting ^ of magistrates and a part of 
the deputies, which was called to discuss the arguments 

1 Hutchinson Papers, I. 120. ^ Winthrop, II. 132. 


raised by the opposition, the larger part of the time seems 
to have been spent in the consideration of the question, 
whether it was lawful for Christians to aid idolaters or to 
hold communion with them. Those who supported the 
negative ransacked the histories of the kings of Judah and 
Israel — Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Amaziah, and others — for prec- 
edents, while their opponents resorted to the good Samari- 
tan argument drawn from the New Testament. Finally, 
coming to genuine historic precedents, the magistrates urged 
that European states frequently allowed aid to be hired 
among their subjects to be used against countries with which 
their governments were at peace. This was true, and prec- 
edents were cited from the relations between England and 
Holland and Spain to prove it. Emphasis was also laid on 
the unfriendly attitude of D'Aunay as a justification of the 
policy of Massachusetts. 

Before La Tour made his second application for assistance 
Endicott had succeeded Winthrop in the governorship. 
Now, while trade relations were kept up with La Tour, a 
message was sent to D'Aunay stating that, if he could prove 
that he had suffered wrong, justice should be done him. 
Further decisive action was postponed tiU the general court 
should meet, and the substance of the letter which had been 
sent to D'Aunay was laid before the commissioners of the 
United Colonies ^ at their second meeting. The opinion 
which they expressed on this specific question was that, unless 
D'Aunay should abandon his offensive conduct, war with 
him might be risked in defence of La Tour, though it should 
be undertaken with the advice of the Confederacy. But at 
the same meeting, though in another connection, the com- 
missioners adopted the rule, ^^ that no Jurisdiction within this 
Confederation shall permitt any voluntaries to go forth in a 
warlike way against any people whatsoever, without order & 
direction from the Commissioners of the several Jurisdic- 
tions." When the event occurred, the machinery of the 
league was scarcely in operation, and such rule as the above 
did not exist. 

During the interval before the next meeting of the com- 

1 Plym. Recs. IX. 24. 


PART missioners, in response to satisfactory proof from D'Aunay 
that he was the legal representative of the French govern- 
ment, Massachusetts abandoned her defence of La Tour. 
A vessel from Massachusetts was. however captured while 
carrying supplies to La Tour's fort. The fort was besieged 
by D'Aunay and captured, and all the men found in it were 
put to death. La Tour himself escaped. An agreement of 
peace was concluded between Massachusetts and D'Aunay. 
This was approved by the commissioners at their meeting 
in 1645.^ Several opinions were also expressed by them at 
that time which by implication condemned the course pur- 
sued by the magistrates of Massachusetts in attempting to 
pass on the merits of the quarrel between the two French 
rivals. The following year, through negotiations with the 
envoys sent by D'Aunay to Boston, an agreement was* 
signed concerning the damages which he claimed, and the 
end of this troublesome affair was reached. It however 
helped to intensify the struggle between the deputies and 
magistrates in Massachusetts, which was in progress at that 

The commissioners exercised supervision over relations 
between the Indians and the colonies in general. Indian 
relations occupied their attention more continuously than 
did any other subject. The tribes of northern New England, 
of Plymouth, of Massachusetts itself, gave little trouble. 
The attention of the commissioners was occupied almost 
wholly by the Narragansetts and their dependants, by the 
Mohegans and the remnant of the Pequots. These all were 
resident within the territory over which Connecticut was 
extending her authority, or which was adjacent thereto. 
The colonies continued to deal separately with the smaller 
or more peaceful bodies of Indians within their own 
limits. The principles of their policy in reference to trade 
and intercourse in general were occasionally approved or 
confirmed by the commissioners, but their time was not seri- 
ously occupied with this. 

The commissioners interested themselves chiefly in keep- 
ing the peace among the Indian tribes of southern New 

1 Plymouth Recs. IX. 69. > Winthrop, IL 384. 


England, or between them and the English. Collisions also CHAP, 
between these tribes and the less warlike natives of Long ^ ^ , 
Island were, so far as possible, prevented. When the Con- 
federacy was established, the feud between the Mohegans 
and the Narragansetts was at its height. Uncas and Mian- 
tonomi were the leaders of the two hostile tribes. The 
former was under the protection of the United Colonies, 
while the latter had the sympathy of the exiles in the 
Narragansett settlements. Some of the aversion with which 
Massachusetts regarded Gorton was transferred to the sachem 
from whom Warwick was bought and who had befriended 
Williams. The first question which came before the com- 
missioners was one growing out of hostilities between these 
chiefs and their followers. When Miantonomi hazarded a 
battle and was captured, the English unhesitatingly sup- 
ported the Mohegan chief, and under their order the Narra- 
gansett sachem was put to death. 

For ten years after this event the English were never free 
from the dread of an Indian war. The Narragansetts and 
their dependants were enraged at the death of their chief 
and threatened revenge. They declared that the Mohegans 
had agreed to accept a ransom for Miantonomi, and that it 
had been paid before his death. But the statements of 
Uncas that this was false were accepted as satisfactory by 
the English. The commissioners in the first interview with 
the hostile chiefs, in 1644, were able only to secure from the 
Narragansetts a promise not to attack Uncas before the end 
of the next planting season. Occasional outrages, however, 
could not be prevented. In 1645, under the threat of an 
expedition into their country and through the mediation of 
Williams, the Narragansetts were induced to meet the com- 
missioners at Hartford. There a treaty^ was arranged, 
according to which the Narragansetts, because they had 
broken the agreement of 1638, promised to restore all they 
had taken from Uncas and pay the English two thousand 
fathom of white wampum. Resort was no longer to be had 
to war until the questions in dispute had been submitted to 
the English. Neither were the Narragansetts or Niantics 

1 Plymouth Recs. IX. 46 et «eg. 


PABT to dispose of any land without the consent of the commis- 
sioners. Hostages were given by the Indians for the due 
observance of the treaty. 

During the next five years the commissioners strove to 
secure the execution ^ of this treaty, but with very imperfect 
results. Only a part of the wampum was delivered, and 
that after persistent coaxing and threats. Occasionally the 
Indians were restless, while the fears of the English were 
kept alive by the tales and incitements of Uncas. Finally, 
after hope that the tribute would be paid had nearly van- 
ished, the anxieties of the colonists culminated in the panic 
of 1653 over rumors of the conspiracy between the Dutch 
and Indians for the destruction of the English. 

Considerable attention was also paid by the commissioners 
to the settlement of the remnant of the Pequots in Con- 
necticut, and to the collection of tribute from them.^ In this 
work the services of Uncas as chief Indian agent and gov- 
ernor were in constant requisition. In this connection the 
labors of the commissioners had chiefly to do with the after 
results of the conflict with the Pequots. Their work forms 
in a way the connecting link between that conflict and the 
much larger struggle, at a later time, with the Narragansetts 
and the other allies of Philip. But though their activity 
was extended and touched the natives at many points, it by 
no means comprised the whole of Indian relations in New 
England. As that subject is of importance sufficient to 
deserve special treatment, the Indian policy of the commis- 
sioners in some of its other features will be reserved for 
reference under the general subject of Indian relations. 

Apart from the question of the war with the Dutch and 
Indians in 1653, the most serious controversy which arose 
during the existence of the confederacy was that between 
Massachusetts and the River Towns, over the attempt of the 
latter to levy a tribute on the trade of Springfield which 
went up and down the Connecticut river. The purpose of 
the River Towns in this policy was to maintain the fort at 
Saybrook, and fulfil their contract with George Fenwick 

1 Plymouth Recs. IX. 74, 86, 117, 143, 168. 
a Ibid, IX. 97, 99 ; X. 142, 168, 199, 285, etc. 


for its purchase. This provided, among other things, that CHAP, 
he should receive for ten years the duties collected from all ^ ^' , 
vessels which passed in and out of the river.^ While Spring- 
field was claimed by the River Towns, but after they had 
ceased to exercise jurisdiction there, they ordered in 1645 
the collection of two pence per bushel on corn, and twenty 
shillings per hogshead on beaver, together with levies on 
biscuit, horses, and cows, which should be sent down the 
river from Springfield. Clearances were to be issued at 
Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield, and officers at the fort 
were ordered to stop vessels which did not produce a cer- 
tificate that they had been duly cleared. The payment of 
this duty was refused by the traders of Springfield, on the 
ground that they belonged to the jurisdiction of Massachu- 
setts. The penalty of confiscation, which the order pro- 
vided for such cases, was not immediately enforced by the 
River Towns, but was postponed until the opinion of the 
commissioners of the United Colonies could be obtained. 

In 1647, though the fort at Saybrook had been destroyed 
by fire, the question was presented in due form before the 
commissioners.^ The Massachusetts commissioners brought 
a declaration from her general court, to the effect that one 
colony had no authority to force the inhabitants of another 
colony to purchase a fort or lands outside its jurisdic- 
tion. It was also considered unfair to demand custom on 
Springfield trade, and not on that of the Dutch. Massa- 
chusetts also claimed that the port of Saybrook afforded no 
protection to Springfield, that the insistence on the imposi- 
tion had long hindered the formation of the confederacy, and 
that it tended to oppress the inhabitants at a time when their 
resources were spent in building. The statement closed 
with the suggestion that, if Hartford insisted on its claim, 
reprisals on the part of Massachusetts might be expected. 

The commissioners from Connecticut could of course 
show no legal right for what they were doing, and simply 
attempted to justify it on the ground of equity. They 
claimed that the fort was useful to Springfield, and that on 
river traffic in Europe similar levies were imposed and for a 

1 Conn. Col. Recs. 1. 119, 266, 272, 668. * Plymonth Bees. IX. 00 ti seq, 
▼OL. I — 2 s 


like purpose. In their contention they had the support of 
the commissioners from Plymouth and New Haven, with 
whom the decision of the board rested. It was there- 
fore decided that for the ensuing year the toll should be 
collected. It was also held by the commissioners that the 
levy of the tax for the defence of the mouth of the river or 
for dredging it, was not an infringement of the liberty of 
traders along its banks, even though they lived in another 
jurisdiction. The rate of duty, however, should not be in- 
creased without the consent of the colonies, and it should be 
continued only so long as the fort was maintained and right 
of passage thereby secured. 

When the question came up again, in 1648,^ Massachusetts 
suggested some changes in the articles, which indicated, either 
that she desired an increase in her representation on the 
board, or that she was ready to free herself in part from even 
the weak restraints which the confederation seemed to impose 
upon her. Since there were more poor laborers and artisans 
in Massachusetts than in the other colonies, she considered 
the rule unfair that burdens should be distributed among 
members of the Confederacy strictly in proportion to numbers. 
She suggested that it would be sufficient if the commissioners 
met triennially. She was suspicious that the commissioners 
might appoint some officers to execute their orders, and thus 
take that work from the officials of the colonies. *'*' Foras- 
much," its delegates concluded, " as orders by way of advice 
are in some cases introductions to orders of power, where the 
advice is not followed, it is to be propounded if it were not 
seasonable to be declared that in such Caces, if any of the 
colonies shall not thinke fitt to Folow such advice, the same 
not to be accounted any offence or breach of any article of 
the Confederation or to give power or occasion to the com- 
missioners to prosede to any act of authority in such Cace." 
To these propositions the commissioners from the other 
colonies naturally refused to consent. 

After urging some rather theoretical arguments in support 
of their contention the commissioners from Massachusetts de- 
manded that the River Towns should produce the patent by 

^ Plymouth Recs. IX. 119 et seq. 


which they claimed Saybrook, and the order of their court 
levying the impost.^ The former was produced, but the 
latter they had not brought with them to the meeting. Then 
the delegates from New Haven interposed and asked that 
the matter be postponed until the next year, and in the mean- 
time that Massachusetts shoul